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(Review originally written at 7 September 2006)

What this movie does so well, is mixing two different themes. There is the serious 'drama' theme of the movie with a solid written plot and with solid characters and then there is the love-story. The one doesn't distract from the other and the movie mixes both things extremely well. It helps to make "The Fountainhead" a very original- and pleasant one to watch.

The movie its story is very well written. It's complex, yet not difficult to follow and it involves lots of different, well portrayed characters. It all is wonderfully and professionally directed by King Vidor, who knows how to tell a story, filled with characters, right. The movie has multiple morale themes in them but the movie doesn't attempt to tell them in a preachy kind of way. Because of this they work out quite well in this movie and in a non-forced and non distracting kind of way

However having as a backdrop for the story the world of architects, isn't the most terribly exciting or compelling thing. It's perhaps the only miss of this movie. If the movie had had a different backdrop maybe the movie would had grown into a must-see classic. Now it's a near perfect one instead. The backdrop of the movie also perhaps causes it to be a little bit distant at moments.

The movie is a good looking one with good camera-work by Alfred Hitchcock's cinematographer Robert Burks and also with some good looking sets and (obviously fake) backgrounds. It makes the movie visually a very pleasant one to watch. Also the earlier mentioned fine directing adds to this.

The movie has a solid cast. Gary Cooper is really good and convincing in his role as a 'tough' stubborn architect. The then yet unknown and beginning actress Patricia Neal is also great and perfectly cast in her role. She remains solid and steady in the midst of the already established and strong acting male cast of the movie, such as Raymond Massey and Robert Douglas. All of the characters are really solid and played by just as solid actors in this movie, which definitely helps to make the both themes of the movie work out so well and help to make them so well balanced and mixed.

Even though the story isn't always as compelling, it still is always interesting and solid enough to follow and care about, for most part of the movie at least. The movie has some really solid and well made sequences that are just as impressive as memorable.

An original love-story, mixed into a solidly written drama, that might not be as powerful or compelling as you would expect but is very pleasant to watch instead.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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