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The Fountainhead Details


The hero of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead is Howard Roark (Gary Cooper), a fiercely independent architect obviously patterned after Frank Lloyd Wright. Rather than compromise his ideals, Roark takes menial work as a quarryman to finance his projects. He falls in love with heiress Dominique (Patricia Neal), but ends the relationship when he has the opportunity to construct buildings according to his own wishes. Dominique marries a newspaper tycoon (Raymond Massey) who at first conducts a vitriolic campaign against the "radical" Roark, but eventually becomes his strongest supporter. Upon being given a public-housing contract on the proviso that his plans not be changed in any way, Roark is aghast to learn that his designs will be radically altered. Roark sneaks into the unfinished structure at night, makes certain no one else is around, and dynamites the project into oblivion. At his trial, Roark acts as his own defense, delivering an eloquent paean to individuality. He is acquitted, while the newspaper tycoon, upset that he could offer Roark no help during the trial, kills himself. This clears the way for a final clinch between Roark and Dominique on the skeleton of his latest building project. Ayn Rand's celebration of Objectivism didn't translate very well to film, with Gary Cooper coming off more selfish and petulant than anything else. The Fountainhead's saving graces are the solid direction by King Vidor, the rhapsodic musical score by Max Steiner, and the symbolism inherent in Cooper's manipulation of his power drill when he first lays eyes on Patricia Neal! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:July 2, 1949


Gary Cooper
as Howard Roark
Patricia Neal
as Dominique Francon
Raymond Massey
as Gail Wynand
Kent Smith
as Peter Keating
Henry Hull
as Henry Cameron
Robert Douglas
as Ellsworth M. Toohey
Ray Collins
as Roger Enright
Moroni Olsen
as Chairman
Jerome Cowan
as Alvah Scarret
Paul Harvey
as A Businessman
Harry Woods
as Superintendent
Paul Stanton
as The Dean
Isabel Withers
as Secretary
Philo McCullough
as Bailiff
Griff Barnett
as Judge
Selmar Jackson
as Official
Thurston Hall
as Businessman
Tristram Coffin
as Secretary
John Alvin
as Young Intellectual
Josephine Whittell
as Hostess
Tito Vuolo
as Worker
Bob Alden
as Newsboy
Fred Kelsey
as Old Watchman
George Sherwood
as Policeman
Geraldine Wall
as Woman
Dorothy Christy
as Society Woman
Jonathan Hale
as Guy Franchon
William Haade
as Worker
Morris Ankrum
as Prosecutor
Almira Sessions
as Housekeeper
Roy Gordon
as Vice President
Paul Newlan
as Policeman
Ann Doran
as Secretary
Ruthelma Stevens
as Secretary
Pierre Watkin
as Official
Harlan Warde
as Young Man
Frank Wilcox
as Gordon Prescott
Douglas Kennedy
as Reporter
Creighton Hale
as Clerk
John Doucette
as Gus Webb
Gail Bonney
as Woman


King Vidor
Henry Blanke
Robert Burks
Max Steiner
Composer (Music Score)
David Weisbart
Edward Carrere
Art Director
Milo Anderson
Costume Designer
William McGann
Special Effects
Edwin DuPar
Special Effects
John Holden
Special Effects
Dick Mayberry
First Assistant Director
Perc Westmore