Directed by King Vidor
USA 1949

 

  One of the more misunderstood and unjustly maligned films in Hollywood history; King Vidor's 1949 thematically authoritative "The Fountainhead" was unable to shift many perceptions and find acceptance for its "expressionist fable" qualities. This derivation from usual Hollywood fare of the 40's required a much higher level of suspension of disbelief, one that the audience of the day were unwilling to respond with. It reached top spots on many of the worst film lists of that year with novelist and screenwriter Ayn Rand's deep and unbound dialogue helping to vault her philosophy known as 'Objectivism' (a cerebral anthem for day-to-day existence) into the more mainstream public eye. Intellectuals of the day expectantly applauded it, the bulk of society dismissed its melodrama and misunderstood its profound messages.

Ironically the very core fundamentals of the The Fountainhead deny public conformist reaction; that which would determine its box-office success or failure. To have had financial success would have meant either it had succumbed to the will and desire of the masses that it staunchly opposed OR that it had achieved an impossibly idealistic goal of altering society's entrenched perceptions. Instead though it failed the studio financially thereby adhering to the principles of its premise. Ironic indeed, and a strange gamble for Warner Brothers to take especially if they thought Rand would allow her scintillating discourse to be "dumbed-down" to appeal to a larger slice of the box-office gate. They were obviously attempting to capitalize on the popularity of her best-selling novel and spared little expense in production.

Excerpt from Gary W. Tooze's article located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 2nd, 1949

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Also available in The Gary Cooper - The Signature Collection (Sergeant York / The Fountainhead / Dallas / Springfield Rifle / The Wreck of the Mary Deare)

           

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:52:24 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New featurette The Making of The Fountainhead (19:38)
• Theatrical trailer (2:21)

DVD Release Date: November 7th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

A strong transfer from Warner - clean and sharp with my only complaint being a shade of, possibly manipulated, heaviness in the black levels. I saw no instances of Chroma and digital noise was at a minimum. The scintillating cinematography looks brilliant with exquisite shadow detail and pointed contrast. Subtitles are excellent and audio clean and clear. I may compare these screen captures to my VHS version as composition seems a little tight, but overall I am happy as a clam I now have this on such a great looking DVD.

There is a decent featurette - 20 minutes of narration with shots of some of the film scenes and production stills - discussing The Fountainhead's creation, public reaction, the Neal/Cooper affair that ensued and Rand's stalwart adherence to her original dialogue.    

My adoration of the film remains, quite possibly, because of its uniqueness - questioning its viewership to re-evaluate the principles that govern their lives - and their too readily willingness to compromise their ideals thereby encouraging any potential greatness to be dragged down to the mob mentality. It appears to hold true more so today than ever before. I'm not an 'Objectivist' nor have read all of Rand's novels, but something in this film captures a real spark of an early Hollywood attempt at an expressionist/art film. Too many will dismiss its dialogue as unnatural and Rand's subtle eroticism will be left unnoticed. For myself, it is a film that continues to improve and I encourage repeat viewings. I am constantly thrilled with this film.    

Gary W. Tooze

 





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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Also available in The Gary Cooper - The Signature Collection (Sergeant York / The Fountainhead / Dallas / Springfield Rifle / The Wreck of the Mary Deare)

           

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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