Monday, May 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged (Rhoades)

“Atlas Shrugged” Carries
World On Its Shoulders

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I used to work with a woman who read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and became a follower of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy. My friend described it as a “be selfish” viewpoint. She quoted Rand and her chief guru Nathaniel Branden to anyone who would listen. Eventually she dumped her sluggish husband, got a bouncy blonde coiffure, started dressing like a fashionista, and became more outgoing. She transformed herself from a mousy proofreader to a star reporter – “a caterpillar into a butterfly,” we said at the time.
So I guess Ayn Rand’s philosophy works.
Last I heard, my friend was in California now giving Primal Scream Therapy a try.
“Atlas Shrugged” told the story of a dystopian world where intelligentsia refused to be exploited by society. The theme is that a civilization where innovators are not free to create is doomed. Published in 1957, it was Rand’s fourth (and last) novel, considered to be her magnum opus.
This new movie version – currently playing at the Tropic Cinema – stars Taylor Schilling as railway maven Dagny Taggert and Grant Bowler as steel manufacturer Hank Rearden. Paul Johansson is the shadowy John Galt who ultimately will lead a strike that results in “stopping the motor of the world.”
Directed by Paul Johansson himself, this film is actually titled “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” because it covers only the first part of the 1,368-page novel. It is planned to be the first film in a trilogy.
The essential drama is Dagny and Hank’s joint effort to build her railroad using his steel, despite all the opposition they encounter.
An equally interesting story is the 40-year struggle to get a film made of “Atlas Shrugged,” despite the opposition it encounters. The project was first initiated in 1975. There were a number of mishaps – mainly Ayn Rand and her heir Leonard Peikoff insisting on maintaining creative control. Finally, in 1992, John Aglialoro bought an option to produce the film, paying Peikoff over $1 million for full creative control. With the 18-year option to the films rights about to expire on June 15, 2010, Aglialoro began principal photography on June 13, 2010, barely managing to retain the rights.
Hmm, this must be another instance of society not allowing innovators the freedom to be creative.
[from Solares Hill]

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