In 1949, I was almost thrown out of a theater for fits of laughter while watching the drama of an incorruptible architect who blows up a housing project because someone added gingerbread to his design.
The movie was “The Fountainhead,” based on an Ayn Rand novel with a script by the author, that set new records for pretentious dialogue and pompous self-assertion.
This comes to mind because Alan Greenspan, whose memoirs emerge tomorrow, was once a disciple of Rand’s Objectivism, prompting a New York Times article yesterday under the heading, “Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism.”
Over half a century, the philosophy that was heartily derided by both the left and right has become an inspiration for those who need justification for extreme selfishness and looking down at the rest of humanity as “looters” and “moochers.” Money, according to the Rand scripture in the turgid 1200-page novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” is the root of all good.
Among Rand’s moneyed admirers are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who have been threatening for years to make a movie of “Atlas Shrugged.”
If they ever do, it could wrest the crown for awfulness from “The Fountainhead,” which can still be seen, usually in the dead of night, on Turner Classic Movies. Those who doubt that it deserves the title can judge for themselves this Wednesday at 1:45 AM.