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Atlas Shrugged: The Movie?

 
 
Reply Fri 12 Jan, 2007 11:51 am
Here's an interesting article from the International Herald Tribune about various attempts to turn Rand's novel into a movie throughout the years, sometimes in consultation with Rand and/or prominent Randroids.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 4,060 • Replies: 47
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jan, 2007 11:53 am
The challenge of distilling Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"
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OCCOM BILL
 
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Reply Sat 13 Jan, 2007 12:36 pm
I don't believe "more people will see the movie" than have read the book, let alone will read the book... and moreover, don't believe it could adequately be condensed for the big screen without obliterating the story. Perhaps a miniseries for TV would work... like Shogun or Roots. Some stories just shouldn't be hacked down that far.
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Shapeless
 
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Reply Sat 13 Jan, 2007 01:41 pm
Any book is going to have its untranslatable moments, of course, but the first thing I thought about when I read this article was one of the final scenes in the book where Dagny, encountering John Galt, greets him silently by tracing a dollar sign in the air. It's meant in all seriousness, but I shudder to think what that would look like in live-action.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Sat 13 Jan, 2007 02:21 pm
I agree with Bill (naturally) that Atlas is much too complicated to be shown successfully as a two hour film. It WOULD need to be a mini-series, and then could be very exciting. I don't know how some of the philosophical speeches that Rand's characters tend to get into could be handled, so that it would not seem stilted, and impede the flow of the film.

On the other hand, the speeches are an integral part of what Rand was conveying. It would have to be couched in a manner that would be effective theatrically.

"The Fountainhead", an earlier Rand work that was made into a movie years ago, was a big disappointment for me. The book was magnificent, the film mediocre and artificial sounding.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Jan, 2007 02:29 pm
Consider "The American President" Phoenix. Though obviously much shorter than Atlas would need to be; the characters practically took turns giving speeches or mini-speeches... and since the cast was so good; it was fantastic. I can't count the number of times I've recounted Shepperd's speech about freedom of speech.
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talk72000
 
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Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 12:18 am
Ayn Rand is artificial. All are scenes and scenarios are one-dimensional fit for teenagers. Her philosophy is crap that appealed to me when I was a teenager.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 12:32 am
talk72000 wrote:
Ayn Rand is artificial. All are scenes and scenarios are one-dimensional fit for teenagers. Her philosophy is crap that appealed to me when I was a teenager.
Tough to argue against such a strong argument. Hmmm... what's the antonym of crap... that ought to do it if I can match Talk's empirical conviction.
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Ray
 
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Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 05:35 am
Quote:
Tough to argue against such a strong argument. Hmmm... what's the antonym of crap... that ought to do it if I can match Talk's empirical conviction.


I think he was voicing his opinion, not making an argument.

Though I have never read Rand's novels myself, I also wholeheartedly disagree with her ideas. If you want a detailed critical argument against Rand's ideas, see: http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/rand.htm#1
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 06:17 am
talk72000 wrote:
Ayn Rand is artificial. All are scenes and scenarios are one-dimensional fit for teenagers. Her philosophy is crap that appealed to me when I was a teenager.


If you think like a teenager, then yes, her philosophy would seem one dimensional. If you can get beyond the hype, one realizes that what she is attempting to convey has a lot of merit.

BTW, I learned about Rand when I was no longer a teenager (middle twenties). I do not believe that accepting anyone's ideas "wholesale" shows much thought on a person's part. A person needs to sift through the ideas, accept what he finds reasonable, and discard the rest. If not, you are left with a cult, not a philosophy. But, after many decades, I have realized that Rand professed many important ideas, more often than not.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 06:23 am
Ray wrote:
Though I have never read Rand's novels myself, I also wholeheartedly disagree with her ideas. If you want a detailed critical argument against Rand's ideas, see: http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/rand.htm#1


You did not read her works, yet you know that you don't agree with her ideas. You "back up" your contention by linking to another person's website.

One of Rand's A#1 concepts, is that people are supposed to think for themselves, not parrot another's opinion. I have a very good idea as to why you don't care for Rand, and it is not very flattering to you!

Here is a quote from Rand, from her book "The Fountainhead", which you haven't read:


Quote:
The Nature Of The Second-Hander, from a conversation between Roark and his friend Gail Wynand (Fountainhead):

"Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation- anchored to nothing. That's the emptiness I couldn't understand in people. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It's everywhere and nowhere and you can't reason with him. He's not open to reason. You can't speak to him and he can't hear. You're tried by an empty bench. A blind mass running amuck, to crush you without sense or purpose .... "

"What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands ...."
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OCCOM BILL
 
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Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 07:19 am
Nice quote Phoenix. Isn't it funny how Rand always brings out those who opine from ignorance?
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Shapeless
 
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Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 12:49 pm
I encountered Rand in high school, but I didn't read any thing substantial of hers until afterward--i.e., I didn't give in to the teenage Rand-Has-Shown-Me-That-I-Am-A-Misunderstood-Genius syndrome. Still, I can't say I'm much of a fan. I agree with her most general precepts (it's hard to argue with "Don't let selflessness get too carried away"), but I don't think her novels paint a very convincing picture of reality. She relies quite a lot very rigid polarities. The heart and mind seem always to be in conflict, and in her world there are only two kinds of people: the extremely gifted and the extremely incompetent. There's a whole lot of middle ground she doesn't account for. In Atlas Shrugged there seem to be two exceptions--Eddie Willers and Cheryl--but, well, look what happens to them in the end anyway. And there's that ludicrous scene where she justifies the death of everyone on the train by giving a compartment-by-compartment description of all the passengers and all their deeds of selflessness. Much of what she has to say is built on the premise that the moral worth of people can be assessed as easily as all that, but I think reality is a little more nuanced than that.

I've frequently wondered whether students who swear by Ayn Rand and who also receive financial aid realize the irony of their position.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 01:11 pm
I can't imagine anyone read that scene on the train without the requisite; "Shocked How ridiculous is that?" reaction... nor do I think anyone failed to see the overall absurd polarity of her characters. Those who suffered the "Rand-Has-Shown-Me-That-I-Am-A-Misunderstood-Genius syndrome" have mistaken themselves for us genuine Misunderstood-Genius's. Laughing Seriously though, I can't even see where kids would buy that stuff. My pre-teen nephew didn't when he read it. But that doesn't mean it wasn't chuck full of valuable advice and insight that can change a person's views for life. For instance, in business; I exchange value for value to the mutual benefit of us both, or I do not do business at all. In my personal life; I believe the only way two people should walk together is if they're heading in the same direction anyway. Sure, her characters were caricatures of themselves, but they were that by design; to better convey the ideals and evils she wished to demonstrate. And that, they did. In a literary sense, it is a shame that she didn't give the villains more depth, or at least the passersby, but she had so much to say and insisted on drilling in so deep, the book would have made War and Peace look like a short story if she had. I'll take it in its current form, and have, in fact, given away dozens of copies.
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 03:53 pm
Quote:
You did not read her works, yet you know that you don't agree with her ideas. You "back up" your contention by linking to another person's website.


It is called a critique. You should read some instead of accepting things at face value. I provided a link to that site so that you can see some of the points that are brought up against her arguments, and if you agree that her arguments are just what the site depicted, then you will see her arguments to be full of contradictions and rhetorics.

I don't claim to be "backing up" any arguments, as I am not providing an argument, just my opinion and a critique from a philosopher who have examined her works. I happened to agree with many of his points. If you call that parroting another person's idea, then by your logic, you are parroting Rand's idea instead of thinking on your own.

If you really want an argument, I can provide you with one if you so wishes.

Quote:
One of Rand's A#1 concepts, is that people are supposed to think for themselves, not parrot another's opinion. I have a very good idea as to why you don't care for Rand, and it is not very flattering to you!


Do you really think I am just parroting another person's idea? I have been exposed to Rand's idea, and I fundamentally disagree with her. On what basis do you claim your accusation that I am merely parroting another person's idea?

Quote:
Nice quote Phoenix. Isn't it funny how Rand always brings out those who opine from ignorance?


Rhetorics are easy to make. You have not even heard my arguments, how do you know that my objections are false. Don't give me ad hominems.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 04:10 pm
Ray wrote:
Do you really think I am just parroting another person's idea? I have been exposed to Rand's idea, and I fundamentally disagree with her. On what basis do you claim your accusation that I am merely parroting another person's idea?
Gee... let's see here...
Ray wrote:
Though I have never read Rand's novels myself, I also wholeheartedly disagree with her ideas.


Ray wrote:
Quote:
Nice quote Phoenix. Isn't it funny how Rand always brings out those who opine from ignorance?


Rhetorics are easy to make. You have not even heard my arguments, how do you know that my objections are false. Don't give me ad hominems.
Laughing How would you know if they were true or false? What purpose would it serve to debate a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Been there, done that, with one of the smartest people I've ever encountered and it was very unsatisfying because, you see, he was opining from ignorance. Having my own opinion, and being perfectly capable of reading other's opinions, I've little use for a discussion with someone who'd choose to parrot the same.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 04:21 pm
Bill wrote:
Sure, her characters were caricatures of themselves, but they were that by design; to better convey the ideals and evils she wished to demonstrate.


Exactly. And that is, what I believe that many people who criticize Rand don't "get". She is talking about ideal situations, about people to whom one can look up to. On the flip side, her villians are as miserable as can be. Are they real? Of course not, but they symbolize certain concepts that she is trying to illustrate.
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 04:26 pm
Quote:
How would you know if they were true or false? What purpose would it serve to debate a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Been there, done that, with one of the smartest people I've ever encountered and it was very unsatisfying because, you see, he was opining from ignorance. Having my own opinion, and being perfectly capable of reading other's opinions, I've little use for a discussion with someone who'd choose to parrot the same.


This is a forum. Is it not a place to type in one's opinion?

I said I have never read her novels, but I have read "of" her arguments and her reasons for them. From so far as I can gather, isn't her ethics that of the ethical egoists' with the addition of a replica of the Kantian maxim: treat people as an end, and never merely as a means to an end? That addition in itself is a contradiction of the fundamental concept in ethical egoism.

There's the word "parrot" again. On what basis do you claim me to be parroting another person's idea and not actually having an opinion to her ideas myself. Sure, I may have read a summary of her idea (with passages from her book), and from waht she wrote, I disagree. So I agree with the person who is critiquing her, what of that? If I offer an argument, argue against my argument, not against me.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 04:56 pm
Ray wrote:
If I offer an argument, argue against my argument, not against me.
I'll be happy to, as soon as you're qualified to hold up your end... assuming of course you'd still want to once you did your homework for yourself, which is hardly a fore drawn conclusion. Her philosophy is not ethical egoism... the woman invented her own called objectivism... which still has a following to this day. The book you've read slanted excerpts from was deemed to be second only to the bible for impacting Americans, according to a joint study by the library of congress and the book of the month club.

Relying on someone else's opinion; I might argue Rascalnikov was an evil psychopath who convinced himself he had the right to murder other people. While this is certainly true; it would hardly be a fitting description of Dostoevsky's best character. I don't mean to be rude... but you are indeed opining from ignorance and I don't see the point in discussing it further. It's not ad hominem to point out this out... it is a simple fact.
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jan, 2007 06:08 pm
Phoenix32890 wrote:
She is talking about ideal situations, about people to whom one can look up to.


Fair enough, though in my opinion most of the characters are so idealized as to defeat the purpose--i.e. they're based on such extreme abstractions of otherwise legitimate concepts that I have a hard time seeing how one could use them as models for real life. I agree with the general lessons that Occam Bill noted, but those strike me as more palatable precisely because Bill tempered them down a bit from what Rand presents in her books.

I do think Rand makes more sense when one reminds oneself of the political conditions she was fleeing. The extreme idealism is easier to put in more perspective, even if it's not entirely palatable. You can almost see the Cold War closing in over the course of her books.
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