Lost Classic That Never Was – Part 8
Gail meets Howard and it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Peter and Ann are not being picked for projects. Peter laments this fact to Ellsworth and hears about the Cortlandt Homes project.
If you’re wondering what all this is about – the intro to Part 1 is about as sensible an explanation as I’m likely to offer.
This bit starts with a series of silent scenes set to the music of God Bless The Child. Howard’s star is on the rise while Peter and Ann find it harder and harder to win commissions. Rosie is accepted into the social circles of the city’s well-to-do women and she, with Mrs. Dubray by her side, uses her new position to get support and promises of funding for new housing for the residents of Devitt Towers.
Gail hires Howard to build a large house in the country which he envisions as a sort of “temple to Dominique Wynand”. Howard accepts the job and he is actually very likeable in this part – and that’s all Ayn Rand’s stuff. He never bad mouths people, doesn’t cast up and simply rises above everything.
The dialogue between Gail and Howard is … well, it’s a bit of a love fest. I don’t remember noticing this while watching the film but reading through the text it just sounds all so over the top – but in a nice, slightly laughable way. The dialogue between Gail and Dominique also made me laugh, especially when they are talking about breaking Howard.
Last year I read for the first time Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I loved it. It was written in the 1930s but it’s set in the 1950s. It’s about a young city lady who, having finished college, is looking for some wealthier relatives to live off. The only relatives that agree to her coming to visit are her country cousins who own and (pretty much fail to) run Cold Comfort Farm. Everyone is basically an over-the-top caricature of whatever they represent. It’s funny and daft. Anyway, the over-the-top dialog throughout this movie, The Fountainhead, about people being without integrity – Howard is meant to be the (one and only) example of a man with integrity – somehow reminded me of the some of the (intentional) daftness of Cold Comfort Farm. So that’s why one of the scenes in this bit starts with Mrs. Mitchel reading Cold Comfort Farm to Mr. Mitchel.
Oh and if you’re wondering what a Cold Comfort Farm accent should sound like here’s you go – just imagine it much more gruff and intense – that’s how I imagined it being pretty much. I’m not sure anyone from Sussex would think this was an authentic accent – but then I’m not sure authentic accents are required for something like Cold Comfort Farm.
Another thing that struck me about this movie was that it’s hugely in support of a type of architecture that can look amazing but can also look horribly industrial, but however it’s looks it was much cheaper and faster to build that way, I think – got to admit I’m not certain about that. But while it was cheaper, if it was built shoddily you were more likely to notice problems sooner. Poorly constructed flat roofs were notorious for making buildings uninhabitable, I think. I know it’s terrible not to have researched this but it’s not like this movie is realistic, and I do think I remember watching a documentary about buildings as a child and it said something along these lines. So anyways… I have a bit in this where Peter mentions a badly built building in Detroit – I just picked Detroit because it’s not New York – where this movie is set – but it was quite a modern city.
I did a search for 1930s newspapers on Google Images and got the newspaper below so I just blanked out everything apart from the header. It turns out this might be an early version an English (so not American) newspaper. It may also have been fascist … I’m going to leave it as it is. It’s not a comment on anything. Also I don’t know if the paper below is the old UK one or is actually an American paper. Also, the Daily Mirror these days is a tabloid in the UK which actually has a left-of-centre stance – here’s a link to it. And here’s a piece in the Guardian about the brief fascist history of the Mail and Mirror. So yeah, I love movies and music from the 1930s but I’m so very glad this is 2016 and not 1936.
So here is Part 8. And if you want to read the earlier parts here is Part 7 and the first half of this neverwas classic You Can Take Your Fountainhead With You And Swing It.