From the Sydney Morning Herald. Also, her most influential book is coming to the big screen. Part one of the trilogy hits theaters April 15. See the trailer below. (Best review of the movie so far? “Both Rand lovers and haters will enjoy this.”)
Woman of real influence who wanted to be judged only on her merits
March 10, 2011
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is the best-selling novel of the 20th century never to appear on film. That changes on April 15 with the release of the first of an Atlas Shrugged trilogy – the YouTube trailers are closing in on a million hits. This calls for an overview of the life of one of the most loved and loathed thinkers of the modern era.
If the 20th century could be reduced to a single sentence it might read: “a struggle between free markets and communism in which free markets prevailed”.
Many thinkers contributed to the final victory with economists such as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek arguing persuasively that capitalism is superior because it works. Ayn Rand went for the jugular, arguing that capitalism is morally good.
Rand was born into a secular Jewish family of pharmacists in St Petersburg. She was one of the first women admitted to Petrograd University as the horror of the Bolshevik Revolution was unleashed. An anti-communist student council was elected, and immediately crushed, and several of her activist colleagues disappeared.Rand procured some early Hollywood film reels and was utterly transfixed. When her mother mentioned relatives in Chicago, Rand pleaded, ”Write to them, mother. Write and tell them. I have to go to America. Ask them to help. Do it today. Do it now.” In 1926 she escaped near starvation in the USSR recalling ”tears of splendour” as her ship approached the Manhattan skyline.
She went to Hollywood as a prospective screenwriter, marching into Paramount Pictures to explain: “I want to write movies.” Quickly brushed aside she headed for the gates when Cecil B. DeMille drove by and stopped his car to ask, ”Why are you staring at me?” In her thick accent she replied, ”I’ve just arrived from Russia and I am very happy to meet you.” ”Get in,” DeMille replied, and proceeded to arrange jobs, first as an extra in King of Kings then as a script reviewer. Rand now had the modest income she needed to write.
Her tone from the outset was purist, rationalist, atheist and anti-communist. In 1944, after 12 rejections, she found a publisher for The Fountainhead. Without powerful advocates or a marketing budget, the book sold slowly but it kept selling, in a classic slow burn, by word of mouth…
Here’s the trailer.
For more about the movie and where to see it, go here.