Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1949. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Ayn Rand, based on her novel. Cinematography by Robert Burks. Produced by Henry Blanke. Music by Max Steiner. Production Design by Edward Carrere. Costume Design by Milo Anderson. Film Editing by David Weisbart.
Ayn Rand’s ever-popular novel makes for a dull film in this tepid drama starring Gary Cooper and a debuting Patricia Neal. Cooper plays an individualistic architect who is expelled from college because of his unique ideas, which do not fit the architectural norms being set by professionals during his time. He has trouble getting a job until he joins a firm that is all in favour of his profoundly post-modern designs, but when the firm’s president dies from depression and drinking, Cooper faces a crisis to either compromise his ideals or risk the same fate. Rand’s philosophies of individualism aren’t exactly hidden deep beneath the surface, but they weren’t subtle in the original novel either and that never stopped it from being popular with audiences. Somehow the drama just doesn’t crackle on screen no matter how you slice it, and stony-faced Cooper has very little chemistry with his female co-star.