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Ayn Rand in Hollywood: How good, or bad, are her movies?

Novelist and screenwriter Ayn Rand
Novelist and screenwriter Ayn Rand

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Before John Galt, there was Jesus. Ayn Rand, the writer responsible for “The Fountainhead,” “Atlas Shrugged,” and (allegedly) Paul Ryan’s worldview, started – like many writers – at the low rung of the Hollywood totem pole. In 1926, the new-to-the-country Russian émigré found herself working as a junior screenwriter for Cecil B. DeMille on "The King of Kings," an epic “part-Gospel, part-Technicolor” re-telling of the Passion of Christ. For $25 a week, Rand toiled away for no credit, until she eventually left for New York, returning to Hollywood on her own terms in the mid-1940s, when she would see her own novel, “The Fountainhead,” turned into a film starring Gary Cooper.


What is the connection between Ayn Rand’s early years in the movie-making machine and her later magna opera, and were the films that followed any good?


Anne C. Heller, Ayn Rand’s biographer; author of “Ayn Rand and the World She Made”

Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune