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The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead(1949)

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Like Ayn Rand's novel, the film, which she also wrote, depicts her concern with the rights of the individual over the demands of society and expounds her belief that genius entitles the superior man to ignore moral and ethical constraints. The character of "Howard Roark" was ostensibly based on architect Frank Lloyd Wright. An September 18, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Warner Bros. wanted to borrow Alan Ladd from Paramount to co-star in the film with Lauren Bacall, while a January 24, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Mervyn LeRoy was to direct the film with stars Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck. According to a February 19, 1948 New York Times article, Harriet Frank, Jr. was hired to adapt Rand's novel for the screen, but only Rand received screenplay credit. Among the actresses considered for the lead were Bette Davis and Greta Garbo, according to a June 21, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item. A modern source reports that Barbara Stanwyck had urged Warner Bros. to purchase Rand's novel in 1943. M-G-M star Clark Gable, who had wanted to play the role of "Howard Roark," later told Rand that he had complained to the studio for not protecting his interests by buying the novel for him. The quarry scenes were shot on location near Fresno, CA, according to a July 13, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item. Modern sources add the following information about the film: Ayn Rand agreed to write the script providing that nothing would be changed without her permission. Director King Vidor wanted Frank Lloyd Wright to design the film, but his fee of $250,000 was not approved by Jack L. Warner. Edward Carrere's sets were scorned by the architectural press. Interiors critic George Nelson, as quoted in a modern source reprint, called the sets the "silliest travesty of modern architecture that has yet hit the film," and "a total perversion of formal and structural elements."