Saturday, April 16, 2011

To A Movie Theatre -- Go!

...Seem to remember reading a line like that in a book review once.* Tam and I saw Atlas Shrugged (Part 1) last night and it was, IMO, excellent.

With the exception of James Taggert -- a bit young and not nearly balding enough -- and Franciso d'Anconia having gone brunette, the characters were very much as I had pictured them. (Wesley Mouch is an impressive bit of casting, in both appearance and the skill the actor brings to the role).

The script is an impressive job, especially in light of the short time in which it had to be written. There's a little rearrangement of events and it all moves very quickly, but dialog that could have been ponderous or even dull is instead light, or at least appropriate to the scene.

It is a little dated, though I think charmingly so; it's a slightly old-fashioned film in terms of situations and pace and that's fitting. The book was written in the 1950s, after all, by a woman who'd learned her craft in 1930s Hollywood.

The story's either familiar to you, or it should be (and I will once again remind readers that is is a work of fiction, no matter how much men like Whittaker Chambers, Lew Rockwell and Roger Ebert might wish to construe it a manifesto or blueprint for revolution), so I won't comment on it directly. I do think the movie does a good job of telling it and I am looking forward to Part 2.
* An infamous hatchet-job on the book and the author, a book review to which I have no intention of linking.


JB Miller said...

I am planning on buying and watch both back to back. Have a movie night, invite people, watch and then discuss over Scotch!

og said...

To put Whittaker chambers in the same sentence as Ebert raises Ebert to a level he does not deserve, in any way. Chambers review, to be honest, is very, very difficult to argue with, though Chambers himself is the kind of converted commie that should theoretically have loved Shrugged. Chambers writes an honest criticism. Ebert only has partisan politics to bring to the party.

In Chambers own well reasoned words:

"We struggle to be just. For we cannot help feel at least a sympathetic pain before the sheer labor, discipline and patient craftsmanship that went to making this mountain of words. But the words keep shouting us down. In the end that tone dominates. But it should be its own antidote, warning us that anything it shouts is best taken with the usual reservations with which we might sip a patent medicine. Some may like the flavor. In any case, the brew is probably without lasting ill effects. But it is not a cure for anything. Nor would we, ordinarily, place much confidence in the diagnosis of a doctor who supposes that the Hippocratic Oath is a kind of curse."

Tango Juliet said...

Personally, I don't look at Atlas as a "cure" or a "blueprint" for anything.

I simply adore Rand's works for their celebration and supremacy of the individual.

Roberta X said...

Og: opinions differ.

Also, I wouldn't cross the street to spit on that commie's grave.

LeeAnn said...

I only go to the movies every ten years or so, due to yappers and texters and the lot. Once it hits Netflix I'll give it a whirl. We had to read the book in school but honestly, I don't remember much except I could never say the author's name right and so I skipped the oral report and consequently got a C and curse you in retrospect, Oddly Spelled First Name lady.

Tam said...


Given the effort you've spent breaking logic on the wheel to prove that your Faith is not either a Belief, I have concluded that what you and I see when we look at, say, the color blue is not, in fact, the same thing.

I like you as a person anyway. :)

Maura said...

1. Biggest pet peeve as a former bookstore manager: people who mispronounce her first name and say "Ann." It is pronounced "Ein" you MF'ers.

2. Since hearing about the movie, I have wondered how they were going to treat Galt's 70+ page speech on the evils of collectivism, but just found out that this movie is actually "Part I"

3. "The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

Ed Rasimus said...

"A blueprint for revolution..."? Hardly, unless we are talking about a different Ayn Rand than I read. It is a chronicle about the descent into mediocrity that radical egalitarianism leads to where political correctness, redistribution and "fairness" supercedes entrepreneurship, profit and reward for effort.

But, it's only fiction and couldn't happen here...

How did this woman possess the prescience to so accurately predict the very things we see happening today.

And, to say that Ayn Rand "honed her craft in Hollywood" really seems to warp the realities of her life and her fundamental philosophical viewpoint.

But, maybe that's just me.

Tam said...


"And, to say that Ayn Rand "honed her craft in Hollywood" really seems to warp the realities of her life and her fundamental philosophical viewpoint."

"Her craft" = writing. She was writing screenplays long before she was writing novels or philosophical essays.

Mark Horning said...

I still can't see Dagny as a Blond. Brunette maybe, but not blond.

Regardless, I'll go see it tomorrow. Too much to do today...

Ed Rasimus said...

Tam, you force me to confess to ignorance and search for knowledge. The chronology garbles the simple linkage of screen-writer honing and events, but I learned something:

Regardless, when I view her writing in the context of the time, she hasn't the brevity of language of Hemingway or the tedious framework of Michener. I can't wade through here objectivist philosophical rants that Billy Beck has committed to memory, but her fiction holds the sort of attraction for me that an Orwell or Huxley does.

The parallels between the world of Atlas and today's politics frighten me. The description of the corruption of the socialist paradise that Marx envisioned and Lenin polluted which is the foundation of "We The Living" similarly covers America 2011.

I would make them both mandatory reading for any high school diploma in the country, but that would mean the schools would first have to teach reading.

Timmeehh said...

Francisco d'Anconia

perlhaqr said...

As for Francisco, many latins have darker hair. He's about how I pictured him, though I'd have made him clean shaven, and prettier. I know he's putting on the image of a corrupt playboy, but I never pictured him as slovenly.

Blond Dagny was not out of line with my memory. I'd pictured James something like they actually cast Philip Rearden, though better dressed than they made Philip.

John Stephens said...

"2. Since hearing about the movie, I have wondered how they were going to treat Galt's 70+ page speech on the evils of collectivism, but just found out that this movie is actually "Part I""

Assuming they don't cut it out completely, the only realistic way would be a voiceover montage of previous scenes.

og said...

"Og: opinions differ."

"spit on that commie's grave."
Alleged former commie, actually.


"what you and I see "
I have no idea what you see. I know what I see is limited to the information my rods and cones provide me. Since my vision is imperfect, I must wear corrective lenses- but since they are made by an optrometrist and not an objectivist, they merely modify focus, and not perspective.

I still struggle with finding adequate language to have a coherent conversation on my Faith. I'll get back to you on that. I do know exactly what Belief is, and I know that I have no discernable beliefs, certainly none whatsoever about this book, or it's author, I only know the facts that are in evidence.

"I like you as a person anyway. :)"

I like you just fine, too? What's not to like?

WV: Canthip. I can't hip check that guy, he's five times my size!

Roberta X said...

Whittaker Chambers

"Alleged," nothing.

og said...

Um, no. Alleged, something.
From the wikipedia (Though I am loathe to use it as a source) article you yourself linked:
"After being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent. " So, according to Wikipedia, at least, he is alleged to be a former communist- which, of course, is precisely what I said, NOT that he was an alleged communist. I do not personally know if he actually split with the party, but the article in question- and his own witness- is that he became, as the article states in the very first paragraph, an outspoken opponent of Communism.

Roberta X said...

I see. The Jedi have trained you well, young Skywalker. ;)

Chambers looks to have been the kind of man who has to have a Behemoth to worship; after his conveniently-timed renunciation, a "neocon," if you like. He's no Garet Garret.

Larry NE1S said...

I drove 100 miles with XYL Elaine, son Alex, and son Alex's girlfriend Lauren in tow, to the closest theater showing Atlas, which happened to be in Danvers MA. Lauren and I have each read the book; Elaine and Alex, not yet.

Wouldn't have missed it, since Atlas is one of my all-time favorite books, and Rand one of my favorite authors - fiction and non-fiction alike. It was good to be able to expose Elaine and Alex to the story without saying "here, read these 1300 or so pages, and then let's have a discussion."

Sure hope Part II and Part II happen in my lifetime, and the sooner the better.

Ed Skinner said...

It's on my "must" list. But I just received my Blu Ray of "The Complete Metropolis" from and, I must say, it is very good even if heavily dated. The special effects are very well done (for 1927) and there's only one significant missing section in the restored film. It's a two popcorn bowl movie at 2.5 hours but well worth the time (if you don't mind the workers revolting).

Roberta X said...

They do that, you know.