Barbara Branden on Atlas Shrugged
By David Henderson
Along with some other recipients, I received a letter from Barbara Branden last night about her reaction to the movie, Atlas Shrugged. She gave me permission to quote extensively. I couldn’t think of anything to cut and so here is her whole letter:
I am delighted, overwhelmed, and stunned.
Yesterday, I saw Atlas Shrugged, Part I, the movie. In advance, I was tense and worried. What if it was terrible? In that case, no one would consider a remake for years, if ever. I didn’t think it would be terrible, especially after I saw a clip from the film: the scene where Rearden comes home to his family after the first pouring of Rearden Metal. The scene was very good indeed. But. . . .
The movie is not so-so, it is not OK, it is not rather good — it is spectacularly good. I won’t go into detail; for this, see David Kelley’s review, with which I am in agreement (http://www.atlassociety.org/atlas-shrugged-movie-film-news) — except that he rather understates the film’s virtues.
The script is excellent, as is the acting. The music is first rate, and immensely adds to the tension that the action and the tempo of the film create. Visually, it is very beautiful. And wait until you experience the first run of the John Galt Line!
The film’s greatest virtue is that, from the first moment, one steps into the world of Atlas Shrugged. The writers whose works live across time share an essential characteristic: their unique and personal stamp, their unique and personal spirit, emanates from every page of their writing, and one knows it could have been created by no other sense of life, no other intellect. The literary universe of Dostoievsky, for instance, its tone, its emotional quality, is instantly recognizable and can never be confused with that of Henry James or Victor Hugo or Oscar Wilde or Thomas Wolfe. And so with Ayn Rand: one turns the pages of The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged and one has entered a self-consistent new planet, formed in the image of the world view and the values that were hers alone.
To a remarkable degree, the movie captures the spirit, the sense of life, that was Ayn Rand’s alone.
Does it have faults? I suppose so. I could not care less — and I suspect you won’t care either.