I was privileged to attend the invitation-only world premiere of the epic film Atlas Shrugged in Union Station, Washington, DC.
There was a sparkling little cocktail party that crackled with excitement before the much-anticipated screening. It was ironic that the Amtrak train that I was first scheduled to arrive on was canceled because of the inclement weather -- even Rand couldn't write that one. The book's central focus, Taggart Trancontinental, is a study in the breakdown of the country's central nervous system, the railroad ..... a little Randian humor.
WITH AMERICA'S ECONOMY STAGGERING and its infrastructure collapsing (masterfully portrayed in an opening montage), Dagny Taggart undertakes to rescue Taggart Transcontinental—a railroad that is going broke under the mismanagement of her brother, who relies on lobbyists, rather than initiative. Dagny enlists the talents of Hank Rearden, inventor of a miraculous metal that threatens the status quo. Fearful competitors and their Washington cronies have conspired to cut him down to size.
But I jumped on the next train and Union Station was a particularly brilliant and inspired choice to premiere this landmark film. Magnificent and majestic, it evoked the greatness that imbued Rand's ideas.
It should be noted that the making of this movie reads a bit like an Ayn Rand story. John Aglialoro, a decidedly non-Hollywood "producer," and Harmon Kaslow put this project together with the force of sheer will. Aglialoro had never made a Hollywood movie, and his fresh approach to Rand's original ideas hit the mark. He financed it, co-wrote it, and distributed it with Harmon. No Hollywood taint. Or Hollywood polish or gloss. None. But he stayed true to the book.
I was very skeptical about this movie being made. It is Rand's magnum opus, and I never had much confidence in anyone adequately bringing it to the silver screen sans Rand. Regular Atlas readers must have noticed my obvious lapse of coverage. I didn't want to say anything without having seen it. But I will say that Aglialoro has communicated Rand's ideas and her message could not be more needed or more timely than now. If you want to experience the full power of Rand's ideas, you simply must read the book. But Americans need to see this movie. I won't quibble about its lack of star power or shallow character development. For the uninitiated, it will take some time to warm and root for the protagonists. But these are minor details. The novel is divided into three parts, and this is how he filmed it. This is part I, an interesting approach.
Pamela Geller and Matthew Marsden, who plays James Taggart with more spine than the maggot Taggart deserves.
Brian Calle at the Daily Caller rigthly wrote:
Capitalism, personal responsibility and individual liberty are the philosophical foundations of a free society. When the creation of wealth and the freedom to make personal decisions is attacked by government do-gooders and utopians, civilization and quality of life decline. In the film, most of the oppressed people simply leave for greener pastures. In the real world, the ideological battle rages on.
Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is not your typical slick Hollywood blockbuster or artistic independent film, and it doesn’t have to be. Rather, it is a movie about big ideas, whose subject matter stands alone, released at a time when the ideological direction of the country sparks intense debate. The movie is a catalyst for critical thinking about worldviews competing in today’s body politic.
The film hits screens April 15th. What better way or day to view this shot in the arm? It provides much-needed succor after writing that check to a runway, degenerative goverment. A movie that exalts capitalism-- unthinkable in today's collectivist culture.
Rand would be pleased that her ideas would be given new life. Indeed.
Go this Friday, find the theater closest to you here.
Geller and Ed Snider, executive producer of “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” and chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers. Snider once owned the rights to the 1957 Ayn Rand novel and tried since the early 1980s to develop a screenplay into a movie.
“I doubt if there will be an Oscar in Hollywood for this movie,” Snider said, laughing. “But I guarantee an awful lot of people are going to love it.”
Snider, who founded the Flyers, was a friend of Rand and staunch believer in her philosophies of capitalism, individual achievement and objectivism. He was a founding contributor of the Ayn Rand Institute and was set to attend the movie’s premiere Tuesday night at Union Station in Washington.Snider, who once ran the independent film studio Spectacor Films, a producer’s credit.
“I”m a little embarrassed by it because I really didn’t do anything,” Snider said before Monday’s 76ers game. “I don’t deserve to have my name on it, but I’m happy about the fact the movie came out.”
Craig Snider (center), Director of David Horowitz Freedom Center. Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute is on the right.
If this inspires more people to read the book, then it's worth everything.