Ojas reccomended this movie to me. The novel I had already read and liked greatly. The movie sadly fell short of expectations. It could have been a brilliant movie, and is in parts, but is paced so fast that, for someone who has not read the novel, it is difficult to put two and two together.
Movies based on novels very often do not do justice to the original. But there have been movies otherwise. The Godfather, the LOTR trilogy and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest being excellent examples. This however, belongs to the former category.
The major problem with the movie is the length of the movie. According to me the movie should have been at least 3 hours long. During most parts the movie seems extremely rushed and at times it is difficult to connect pieces. The screenplay by Rand is crisp but haphazard at the best. For example, the relationship between Roark and Dominique could have been explored a little more.
Gary Cooper are Howard Roark and Robert Douglas as Ellsworth Toohey are extremely good. The other actors however, do not leave a mark. Patricia Neal, playing Domonique Francon, is good only in parts but mostly has a wooden expression that fails to convince you. Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand is ok. Peter Keating, played by Kent Smith, hardly has any screen time to be judged.
The fans of the novel however, must watch the movie once. I rate it as 3.5/5.0.
Interesting: You can read a NY Times review (of 1949) criticising the philosophy behind the movie, and the movie itself, here (sign up required).