Apr

17

 Atlas Shrugged opened April 15 in some 240 theaters across the country. It got a 23% review on metacritic, and ends with a fire at the Wyatt oil fields, after a brief talk with John Galt who convinced him to leave things where they started, as Taylor Schilliing playing Dagny gives a non-orgasmic scream. The actors "speak the words" of the novel in many cases and you can get the gist that business men are unfairly portrayed as evil by the moochers in Washington, although the moral idea that the purpose of life is not sacrifice but pursuit of happiness is not touched on much. the completion of the railroad track scene is not very stirring as there don't seem to be many obstacles. nor is it too clear or believable why everything depends on the completion of this railroad.

The businessmen who are portrayed are the kind that would make you hate businessmen, sharp tongued, austere, inward looking. The romance in the film is quite tepid, and the cocktail scene where Dagny trades the ring with lilain is rather hateful and narrow. The movie does well on cocktail chatter and the directors must have been very experienced with that. I had hoped to recommend the film to my many acquaintances that had not read the book, but I am afraid that after seeing the movie, the viewers would have an even more stereotyped and hurtful view of the idea that has the world in its grip than they do now.

It took 54 years to make the movie, and the many readers of the book seem glad that it was finally made. It is hard to make a movie of an epic nature that shows that the idea that has the world in its grip, that the purpose of life is sacrifice, and that the people who produce must be leveled so that others will feel they are getting the fair results of the dice of life wont feel bad about themselves. It's against everything that Hollywood and the collectivists stand for, so it is guaranteed to get 23% critical success, with only true believers giving it a good review. Thus the audience for it must be very limited and it was guaranteed not to be a money maker with a big budget.

Martin Fridson gave a great review in Barrons, and I was hopeful that it would live up, but what a disappointment it was. Leaves you feeling like a bad meal or unrequited romance.

Update:

One notes that Atlas had 2 million in revenues this weekend with 300 theaters for $6,700 per theater which was second best average for this week's movies which included Rio and Scream and conspirators. That's pretty good. Also, one notes that many pictures are redone 20 years later, and this might be a good omen.

Galt told me that one of the keys to movie revenues is whether the talent is gung ho to support it with publicity and interviews. One notes that none of the stars of the movie appeared to be at the openings, and the rumour is that the female star is a (one looks around 3 times) agrarian reformer. The producers said that the talent agents wouldn't send them their A list actors, and perhaps this is a symptom.

It is amazing that Al Ruddy, the producer of the Godfather, tried for 15 years to get this film produced with people like Clint Eastwood starring, but that Ayn Rand wouldn't give up total control of the content. On such small strands do great disasters and triumphs in movies and markets.

But you have to give the current producer, John Aglialoro, credit for making it happen. I guess a 1/4 of a diamond is better than no diamond at all.


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