Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

The Politically Incorrect Show - 19/04/2001

[Music - Die Fledermaus]

Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Thursday April 19, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.

[Music up, music down!]

Last night I attended a screening of the movie version of Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead, at the Lido theatre in Epsom, Auckland. It was the first time I had seen it on the big screen. It was magnificent. What a difference a big screen makes!

Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, the supremely talented young architect who exists for himself & won't compromise his standards, was woefully miscast. He was far too old, for one thing; for another, one had the uneasy feeling as he delivered some of his lines that he didn't really grasp what he was saying, particularly in the climactic courtroom speech. He confessed as much to Ayn Rand after the first preview of the movie - only now, he said, did he understand the courtroom speech & how he should have done it. Again, it was Rand herself who picked him for the role, only to be disappointed. According to Barbara Branden, "She thought his performance was wooden, that he was unconvincing as an architect of genius, that 'there were places where he was almost coy, & he was often embarrassing when he was supposed to show emotion.'"

The stand-out among the cast was Robert Douglas, playing the arch-villain Ellsworth Toohey, the power-luster who preaches the subordination of the individual to society. "He was too forceful for Toohey," said Rand, "& too strong for the rest of the cast. He should have been slippery & snide, & not so openly villainous. But he delivered his lines with enormous intelligence." That he did, as he poisonously proclaimed the glories of collectivism & self-sacrifice - & his agenda: "one neck, ready for one leash."

For all its flaws, & forgetting about comparisons with the novel, the movie is powerful & impressive - on the big screen, as I said, magnificent. Several audiences around New Zealand, most of whom have probably not read the book, have burst into applause at its conclusion - including last night's. It is hard NOT to be impressed by the spectacle of one man's intransigent commitment to his principles - & his triumph. In a world where having principles is ridiculed, the triumph of principles proclaimed impossible, & where worship of the anti-hero is the fashion, the spectacle is refreshing & inspiring. Would that every two-bit drooling cynic could see it & be touched. Ordinary folk around the world, too innocent to be cynical, have been touched by it for fifty years. One neck ready for one leash? Not if The Fountainhead has anything to do with it.

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