Ayn Rand herself adapted her novel to screen here with this cinematic ode to individualism over collectivism. Gary Cooper, despite being too old for the part, plays an architect without compromise who will not betray his 'self' for any temptation, going to any length to protect his creations even their destruction. Patricia Neal gives a star making performance here. Though directed by Vidor its Rand's vision.
A great-looking film, but even the excellent art direction and cinematography, and Patricia Neal at her most stunning can't overcome a truly awful screenplay by Ayn Rand. One-dimensional characters and laughably on-the-nose dialogue effectively turn the whole film into a screeching, preachy melodrama far more concerned with pushing Rand's ideologies than telling a compelling story about believable characters.
Over the top as often with King Vidor but Hollywood at its best. So much passion, vision, intensity ! Each and every scene is efficient, to the nerve, and visually astonishing. It is for sure a masterpiece, but i guess a complex one, because H.Roark is not what you can call a typical hero (quite the contrary). I know the script made a lot of viewers crazy but i love the flaws and the ambiguity all the same.
If you just pay attention to Cooper and Neal, Vidor's direction, the cinematography, art direction and score and ignore any trace of Ayn Rand and her filth, this is a pretty good movie! Albeit one without a offensively hamfisted plot and terrible screenplay, which doesn't really make it a movie anymore - but I much prefer it that way.
This crazy film is so much fun to watch. Everything--the acting, the dialogue--is over the top. It is an opera without the singers. Amazingly, Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey, fine actors, manage not to make total fools of themselves. Gary Cooper fits in too well with Ayn Rand's ideology. She knew how to write melodramatic dialogue, though. Check out her script for "Love
Letters" of 1945, particularly the last line.