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Atlas Shrugged: The Movie! Rand’s Greatest Novel Finally Makes It To The Big Screen

February 14, 2011

We don’t know whether it’ll be faithful to her magnum opus or not, but this past weekend witnessed the debut of Atlas Shrugged’s trailer:

So, mark your calendars for what is normally Tax Day: April 15, 2011.

(Note: Tax Day this year is actually April 18th this year–traditionally it is the 15th).

We hope Hollywood doesn’t ruin this vital piece of American literature (but I’ve seen things in the trailer that make me hopeful!)!

  1. Frank from Bay Ridge permalink
    February 14, 2011 9:07 pm

    Very creative John

  2. If "Atlas Shrugged: Part I" lives up to its namesake -- that is good for America and real Republicans permalink
    February 18, 2011 6:13 pm

    ROY ANTOUN recently uttered a ringing Libertarian-Republican truth:
    “… If you vehemently believe in a cause, you can go ahead and voluntarily donate your own money to that cause. *** You can’t consider yourself a Republican if you believe in any ounce of government coercion in which your property is seized for the collective….”

    If RA didn’t exist, AR would have had to write him into existence.

  3. This production of "Atlas Shrugged" is already being panned by the left permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:06 pm

    What else to expect from “Mother Jones”:

    Equally “bitchy” is PAJIBA, “Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People”:

    FYI, Even thought the cast isn’t part of the current “A-LIST”, it’s not really a bad cast and some of the players may have upside potential. The “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” Cast of Characters has been reported to be:

    Paul Johansson as John Galt [the Director of the movie; appears only as a silouhette in “…Part I”]
    Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart
    Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden
    Matthew Marsden as James Taggart
    Graham Beckel as Ellis Wyatt
    Edi Gathegi as Edwin “Eddie” Willers
    Jsu Garcia as Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia
    Michael Lerner as Wesley Mouch
    Nick Cassavetes as Richard McNamara
    Ethan Cohn as Owen Kellogg
    Rebecca Wisocky as Lillian Rearden
    Christina Pickles as Mother Rearden
    Neill Barry as Philip Rearden
    Patrick Fischler as Paul Larkin
    Sylva Kelegian as Ivy Starnes
    Jon Polito as Orren Boyle
    Michael O’Keefe as Hugh Akston
    Geoff Pierson as Midas Mulligan
    Armin Shimerman as Dr. Potter

  4. BIG ATTACKS on trailer for a SMALL MOVIE done about a BIG STORY permalink
    February 21, 2011 9:45 am

    It looks like somebody is trying to abort this presentation of AR’s story before it can generate any “word of mouth” or other popular support.

    The negative commentary about the upcoming “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” has been relentless. Here are two of the more obnoxious ones.

    Salon: “Deducing the plot of “Atlas Shrugged” from the trailer…” by Drew Grant:
    Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Ayn Rand cultists make a movie; Hollywood shrugs” by Jay Bookman:

    The only way the “reviewers” (of the only the trailer so far) and the Hollywood Establishment might have been more negative is if Mel Gibson had gotten behind making a movie of Ayn Rand’s book and put it out there – then of course he would have spent a lot more money making and distributing it and he would have gotten it up on many more screens.

  5. “Atlas Shrugged” -- the movie -- is almost here permalink
    April 13, 2011 7:54 pm

    It’s been tough to find any pre-opening reviews, but here’s one:

    “Atlas Shrugs Off an Opportunity, Alienates Viewers” by Joy Pullmann, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in “The American – The Journal of The American Enterprise Institute ”

    According to Ms. Pullmann, “Most Americans will find Ayn Rand’s worldview distasteful, immoral, and absurd.” That’s because “[f]ew mainstream movies celebrate business owners and entrepreneurs” and “[o]rdinarily, [in movies] those characters are the villains, not the heroes…. Contra this Hollywood tendency, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 will pierce theaters on April 15, 2011, in a strong adaptation of her popular novel glorifying the innovative, productive individual.

    Atlas Shrugged: The Movie

    “Into this climate steps the steely Rand via her heroine, Dagny Taggart. Taggart runs Taggart Transcontinental, a train line central to American transportation because oil shocks and world disasters have destroyed road and air shipping. When a train running through Colorado derails, Taggart must navigate crippling federal regulations while attempting to rebuild the track. She puts her trust and money in a new metal invented by Hank Rearden, and the two battle inside and out against legislators, business partners, and family members sponging off Taggart and Rearden’s hard work and ingenuity. Rearden and Taggart also attempt to track the inventor of a new type of super-efficient engine. *** At the same time, the world’s brilliant businessmen and inventors keep disappearing after whispering the repeated phrase, “Who is John Galt?” The film (part one of a trilogy) ends in a fiery climax as one of Taggart’s new business partners abruptly vanishes amid explosions lighting his Colorado oil wells.”

    “Though the movie has decent technical quality and the acting and settings are generally vivid and believable, sticking rigidly to Rand’s message has, more than anything, underlaid the movie with cold, inhuman steel — as if Rearden’s metal, and not blood, runs through Atlas Shrugged’s veins.”

    It’s enough of a review to give us some hope — also let’s hope ASIB does its own review some time soon with “Dagny Taggart” doing a special review of her big screen namesake. Then again, maybe we’ll take a look-see and let everybody know what we think about Taylor Schilling’s “Dagny” and all the rest.

  6. National Reviews' Review of "Atlas Shrugged" permalink
    April 17, 2011 12:09 am

    Remember that Bill Buckley and his “National Review”
    magazine never loved Ayn Rand, her philosophy or her work. Here’s
    what the 2011 version of Buckley’s mag had to say about the 2011
    version of Ms. Rand’s work: “Atlas Shrugged: the Movie *** April
    16, 2011 2:24 P.M. By Andrew Stuttaford Well, I went to watch Atlas
    shrug (or, more accurately, start shrugging: this movie is only
    Part I) last night, and it was so-so, but basically enjoyable
    so-so. The film was obviously both a labor of love and a product of
    low budgets. The kitsch was unavoidable (we are talking Ayn Rand
    here), and damagingly reinforced by long stretches that had more
    than a touch of a TV miniseries, Dynasty say, about them–and not in
    a good way. Some of the performances were closer to wood than to
    Rearden Metal, but others did the trick: Graham Beckel (Ellis
    Wyatt) was a stand-out, Michael Lerner was a suitably slimy Wesley
    Mouch, and Grant Bowler a more than passable Hank Rearden. Armin
    Shimerman (the State Science Institute’s Dr. Potter) brought a
    counter-intuitive hint of the Ferengi to Rand’s dystopia (As K-Lo
    may not be looking, I’ll just pause for a second to wonder what Ms.
    Rand would have thought, their views on women aside, of the
    Ferengi). As Dagny Taggart, Taylor Schilling is highly decorative,
    and spends a lot of time purposefully striding around in a way that
    is, I suppose, Randian, but otherwise…*** Still, there’s no denying
    that this movie has its moments and, even, passages that
    successfully evoke the wacky grandeur of Rand’s vision. I’d pass
    over the irony that some of them revolve around a high-speed train,
    and just concentrate on the celebration of human ingenuity. *** I
    doubt this is a movie that will change many or any minds, but it
    might get a few people to check out the book, and that’s no bad
    thing. *** And yes, I’ll go and see Part II – if it ever gets

  7. Raymond Hart Massey (as the actor who played Gail Wynand) permalink
    April 17, 2011 1:14 am

    I saw “Atlas Shrugged: Part I”. I took a break on Saturday,
    went to the Pavilion in Park Slope (How is it that the Sanders was
    in Windsor Terrace?). I wanted to like the movie — I loved it. My
    escort also liked it, but thought it could have been better. She’s
    right, it could have been better; nonetheless, I still loved it.
    Production values were appropriate for a TV mini-series rather than
    a first-run movie; the casting and acting were decent, some players
    better suited than others; the script was polemical rather than
    realistic, and sternly formal rather than glib [so was the script
    for “Fountainhead”]; the directing was stark and spare, and any
    emotion was quite cool. Taylor Schilling, as Dagny Taggart; Grant
    Bowler, as Hank Rearden; and Graham Beckel, as Ellis Wyatt, were
    fine as the three main protagonists (Needless to say, they were not
    of the caliber of my co-stars, Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal in
    “Fountainhead”, or even Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi in the
    Italian-made “We The Living”, Ayn Rand’s other books that were made
    into “big screen” versions.) For a comparison, remember that the
    first production of Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” was “Casino Royale”
    done in 1954 as a CBS TV show: with Barry Nelson as “Card Sense
    Jimmy Bond,” a CIA spy, and Peter Lorre as the villain, a KGB spy
    who liked to gamble. As a result of the “success” of that show, Ian
    Fleming and CBS agreed to do a series of twenty-two Jimmy Bond TV
    shows. That never came off — thank goodness — but since then, the
    James Bond franchise … off the charts.

  8. “Atlas Shrugged” does $1.7 Million at Box Office in first weekend --- might possibly be viewed as “Indie Success”; with impact shown in rising book sales permalink
    April 17, 2011 11:19 pm

    ….. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb),
    “Atlas Shrugged” producer Harmon Kaslow said “We’re at the upper
    edge of our expectations…. And we’re a way above what the
    industry expected us to do.” ….. The
    independently produced and distributed “Atlas Shrugged” had a
    fairly solid per-theater average of $5,590, in line with the
    weekend’s other indie success, “The Conspirator,” a historical
    drama about the trial of Abraham Lincoln’s assassins, which earned
    a similar $5,550 per-venue average across 700 theaters. Also
    interesting, even it the movie version hasn’t been a breakout hit,
    evidence of its impact might have been shown by the renewed
    popularity of its source material, Ayn Rand’s novel. Through this
    weekend, Plume’s paperback edition of Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” was
    the No.4 best selling book on…

  9. Some Fine Reviews of "Atlas Shrugged: The Movie"; Some Not So Much! permalink
    April 20, 2011 11:29 pm

    America’s Right Wing is weighing-in on the cinematic
    representation of Ayn Rand’s monumental opus. Most of the vibe is
    good, but it’s not universal Bob Adelmann does his bit to boost the
    movie in his April 16, 2011 piece in “The New American”
    According to Adelmann, “The movie Atlas Shrugged: Part I, set in
    the year 2016 and adapted from Ayn Rand’s famous novel published in
    1957, accomplishes much of what the author intended in her book: a
    beautiful, poignant, painful expression of the conflict between
    egalitarianism and the right to own private property. The story is
    well known, as the novel was noted recently by the Library of
    Congress ‘as the most influential book read in America,’ right
    behind the Bible itself….This movie is for the faithful. It will
    remind them of why they slogged their way through the 1,100-page
    novel. They will enjoy the pure, unadulterated energy and thrill of
    entrepreneurship that comes clearly through. As Part I of the
    planned three-part movie series ends, the enigmatic question, ‘Who
    is John Galt?’ slowly becomes clear.” Those who want a complete run
    down of the history of how “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” was brought to
    the screen should check out to catch
    Brian Doherty’s (not the Brooklyn GOP’s 48th AD version) “Atlas
    Shrugged: The Movie” (a very catchy title for articles these days).
    This item provides lots of detail and excellent side bar coverage
    for those who want a deeper back grounder on the movie. Obviously,
    Mr. Doherty really liked the film.’s review of the flic
    by Kurt Loder, was less complimentary, obviously because of some
    very high expectations.

  10. We just loved this "Ayn Rand" homage and wanted to show a little of it permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:12 am

    “Ellsworth Toohey Declines to Review Atlas Shrugged”
    “Writing on the Publius blog, the inimitable Ellsworth Toohey
    discusses seeing the Atlas Shrugged movie with his friend, Peter
    Keating (Posted on April 18, 2011 7:35 pm by Hans Schantz): ‘One
    Small Voice: Neutering Atlas Shrugged’ by Ellsworth Toohey on April
    17, 2011*** “My God, Ellsworth, that was the worst movie I’ve ever
    seen. I actually started having flash-backs of being back in school
    at Stanton, with you-know-who.” *** My friend Peter Keating and I
    were grabbing a late dinner at Café Jean Pierre, which happens to
    be across the parking lot from the Century Rio 24 Multiplex.
    Keating and I are big movie buffs – we see everything with Hugh
    Grant, George Clooney or Meryl Streep – but Friday night was no
    such occasion. We had just finished enduring Atlas Shrugged Part I.
    *** We didn’t pay admission to see Atlas Shrugged, of course.
    Neither of us wanted to send a dime to the right-wing nut who
    independently produced the movie. Rather, we purchased tickets to
    Robert Redford’s new flick about the Lincoln assassination. Bob is
    a reliable Progressive, and we always make a point of supporting
    his work. So, we paid to see The Conspirator, and then snuck into
    the theater next door to watch the Ayn Rand screed. *** “So what
    nasty things are you going to write about the movie in your column,
    Ellsworth? I hope you really let them have it.” *** “I’m going to
    write as much about that movie as I did the Enwright House, Peter.
    Nothing, not a word.” *** “But why? How are you going to keep
    people away if you don’t tell them how awful it was?” *** “Oh,
    don’t worry about that, Petey. The media has already done a nice
    job of slamming the movie – Variety, Roger Ebert, The Washington
    Post, Maureen Dowd – all the usual suspects. Even some on the other
    side have panned it. *** My point, Peter, is that digging too deep
    into Rand’s philosophy can get us in to trouble. The best approach
    goes like this – ‘Ayn Rand? You don’t take her seriously, do you?
    Her philosophy is simplistic, a phase people go through as
    sophomores in college. You’ve grown out of that, haven’t you?’ ***
    “Or this – ‘Atlas Shrugged? My dear, that’s an awful book. Don’t
    waste your time reading that tripe. I thought you were a Christian?
    You know Ayn Rand was an atheist, don’t you? She’s in hell with all
    the other robber barons. You should stay away from her.’ That line
    really works with the tea baggers, who are all a bunch of bible
    thumpers. *** “If they persist, ask if they realize Objectivism is
    a cult, like the Scientologists or the Hari Krishna. Point out how
    Ayn Rand excommunicated supporters, her bizarre sexual affair with
    a member of her inner circle, and her feud with conservative icon
    William F. Buckley. Tell them that when Rand died in 1982, a
    6-foot-high floral dollar sign was erected by her open coffin. ***
    “In other words, turn her into a cartoon. Ridicule is the way to
    pry people from Ayn Rand, not reason.” *** “I just don’t see what
    the big deal is, Ellsworth,” Keating said. “The theater just now
    was only half full. Not that many people have ever heard of Ayn
    Rand, and few are able to make it through her book.” *** “The
    problem is not the number of her acolytes, but their influence.
    Alan Greenspan was one of her closest followers back in the day,
    and look where he ended up. Now she has a whole new group of
    disciples – Congressman Paul Ryan, for example, the new Chairman of
    the House Budget Committee, requires everyone on his staff to read
    Atlas Shrugged. Ryan’s new budget is premised on the notation that
    people don’t need all of our new government welfare programs, or
    even those of us in the elite to lead them by the nose. *** absorb
    her philosophy, to get into power threatens everything we
    Progressives have worked for since the New Deal. Who knows how many
    ignoramuses will watch that awful movie, and then buy the book.
    Some of them – a small number, mind you – will actually read the
    damn thing and understand it. Then, they will have their Ayn Rand
    Epiphany, and we will have lost them forever. *** “Make no mistake.
    Ayn Rand is dead and buried, but she remains a mortal threat to
    people like us. We need to pry people away before they understand
    her, not by arguing the merits, but with a sneer and a shrug – if
    you will.”

  11. After two weeks is the NEW YORK TIMES ready to review "Atlas Shrugged: Part I" ? permalink
    April 28, 2011 11:18 pm

    “New York Times Deems ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Safe For Review” by
    Ray Gustini 06:41 PM ET
    **** Atlas Shrugged still isn’t a hit, but at least the New York
    Times is going to review the new adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel.
    Too bad the movie’s already been out for two weeks. **** The Times
    snub bothered producer John Agliaro, who sunk $20 million of his
    own money into the project, more than the dismal reviews and tepid
    box office performance ($3.1 million in receipts since opening on
    299 screens on April 15.) “The New York Times gave us the most
    hateful review of all,” Aglialoro told the Los Angeles Times
    yesterday. “They didn’t cover it.” In a blog post earlier this
    week, New York Post chief film critic Lou Lumenick wondered–not
    unreasonably–if Rand’s libertarian message was the reason a
    left-leaning paper that “deploys a small army of critics to handle
    even the most obscure releases [didn’t] bother to review this
    particularly newsworthy movie.” It’s not like the movie didn’t play
    in New York–tickets for the 7 p.m.opening night show at the Regal
    Union Square Stadium 14 sold out two weeks ahead of time. ****
    Lumenick’s Post colleague Kyle Smith–one of the few critics to
    give the film a semi-positive notice–is now reporting the Times
    will run a review in tomorrow’s paper. “Of course,” he writes, “the
    review will be negative and dismissive, because one of the Times’
    goals is to be as predictable as it possibly can be.” **** We’re
    not sure about that. The way we see it, there are three approaches
    the Times review might take. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
    Perfunctory A dry one-column dismissal–similar to the bloodless
    Saturday morning evisceration of movies not screened for critics
    that opened Friday–seems most likely. Matters of politics will
    give way to quips about the crummy CGI effects and cast of
    unknowns. Meta Address the delay. What happened? Smith says the
    paper was invited to a pre-release press screening but declined.
    True? It’s the most interesting and least likely option. If the
    backstory does comes out, it will be on the editorial page or from
    the public editor. Plus, tomorrow’s a Friday and there are other
    movies to review. New movies. Venomous A toss-up between
    Hey-It’s-Not-That-Bad brand of gentle surprise and a full-on pan.
    The pan gets the nod because all the other reviews have been so
    lousy. Nobody’s found anything to like. The problem is if the
    potshots seem too gleeful, it’ll come across as belated
    grave-dancing. **** If Agliaro’s statement that he was scrapping
    the two planned sequels to the film played any role in the
    decision, the paper just might want to consider holding the
    presses. The producer is now telling The Hollywood Reporter the
    film’s bad reviews were just a “nihilistic craze” and that the two
    follow-ups are back on. He goes on to thank the film’s detractors
    for “revitalizing me with their outrageousness.” We can only
    imagine how great he’s going to feel tomorrow.

  12. NY TIMES slams and damns "Atlas Shrugged: Part I"; and you expected ? ? ? permalink
    April 29, 2011 9:40 pm

    Well, it’s about what one might expect from “THE TIMES”;
    here it is (excerpted): “A Utopian Society Made Up of Business
    Moguls in Fedoras” by CARINA CHOCANO, New York Times, Part C, April
    29, 2011. “Could anyone have guessed, way back when it was
    published in 1957, that ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ Ayn Rand’s grandiloquent
    doorstop of a masterwork, would one day reach the big screen as
    high-camp comedy?” (IT’S NOT “high-camp comedy” so you know where
    this is going) “… Because stilted prose and silly plotting
    notwithstanding, Rand’s unrelentingly popular book has exerted a
    powerful ideological hold on the culture, an influence that has
    only intensified in recent years with the emergence of the Tea
    Party. Still, for unintentional yet somehow boring hilarity, the
    novel can’t touch the cinematic adaptation, which shifts the action
    to 2016 and presents Rand’s ham-fisted fable of laissez-faire
    capitalism as something C-Span might make if it ever set out to
    create a futuristic, proto-libertarian nighttime soap. In the
    1980s.” (And so it goes ….) ”Atlas Shrugged: Part I” may be set
    only five years from now, but the world it portrays is completely
    unrecognizable….. (Blah, blah, blah!!!) “….In this
    backward-glancing world, it makes sense that trains should once
    again become the preferred mode of transport of the future. This
    anachronism should mean good news for the steely blond railroad
    executive Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) of Taggart
    Transcontinental, if only her spineless brother James (Matthew
    Marsden) didn’t insist on letting his friends in Washington tell
    him how to run his business. *** Finally tiring of James’s
    incompetence, Dagny teams up with the visionary metallurgist Hank
    Rearden (Grant Bowler) and the blustery oil magnate Ellis Wyatt
    (Graham Beckel) to update an old railway line through Colorado.
    Meanwhile, magnates, moguls, business titans and captains of
    industry are vanishing, each fresh disappearance marked with a
    murmured question, ‘Who is John Galt?’ *** ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part
    I’never flinches from its mission to portray those more fortunate
    as victims of a lazy, parasitic society that would bleed them dry
    and leave them for dead, given the chance…” *** “The resulting
    film, directed by Paul Johansson, feels rushed, amateurish and
    clumsy. It’s not just the ideologies that feel oddly out of step
    with the present day, but the clothes, hairstyles and interiors
    …” *** “‘Atlas Shrugged: Part I’ is in many ways charmingly
    oblivious to its inherent contradictions and the fact that its
    capitalist titans appear to be squatting in old, abandoned
    ‘Dynasty’ sets, eating food-court baked potatoes.” The TIMES may
    have saved its best jab for last: “‘Atlas Shrugged: Part I’ is
    rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Some very bland sexuality
    and near-lethal levels of exposition.” SEE THIS MOVIE PISS OFF THE

  13. and from the other end of the spectrum permalink
    May 3, 2011 11:46 pm

    They used to tell me >>> I was
    building a dream. And so I followed the mob
    >>> When there was earth to plow
    >>> Or guns to bear >>> I
    was always there >>> Right on the job. They
    used to tell me >>> I was building a dream
    >>> With peace and glory ahead. Why should I
    be standing in line >>> Just waiting for
    bread? Once I built a railroad >>> I made it
    run >>> Made it race against time. Once I
    built a railroad >>> Now it’s done
    >>> Brother, can you spare a dime? Once I
    built a tower up to the sun >>> Brick and
    rivet and lime. Once I built a tower, >>> Now
    it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once in khaki suits
    >>> Gee we looked swell
    >>> Full of that yankee doodle dee dum. Half a
    million boots went sloggin’ through hell >>>
    And I was the kid with the drum! Say don’t you remember? They
    called me Al. It was Al all the time. Why don’t you remember? I’m
    your pal. Say buddy, can you spare a dime? ***** So Eddie Willers
    looked him in the eye and gave him a dime.

  14. Boston Globe Interview with John Aglialuro, Producer of “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” permalink
    May 11, 2011 8:25 pm

    The Boston Globe characterized John Aglialuro’s purchase of
    the movie rights to Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” in 1992 as
    “making the bet of a lifetime.” To Aglialuro, it was all about
    believing in the story and believing that he would be making
    money…. an approach that would seem apropos of AR’s world view.
    When asked what makes this 1957 novel persist, Aglialuro responds:
    “It speaks to people that you own your own life. You’re not born to
    serve society. Happiness is when you express your right to pursue
    what you’re passionate about. Unless you do that first, you can’t
    be good to anyone else.” He sees the reaction to the movie to have
    been very negative by the critics, but very positive by the target
    audience. According to Aglialuro, “ Fifteen out of sixteen critics
    were negative”; however he also noted that “the out-of-the-theaters
    reaction is over 85 percent positive. People are cheering,
    clapping, joyous after seeing the movie.” For John Aglialuro,
    making the followup or sequel is all about the making back enough
    of his money from “Atlas Shrugged: Part I”: “I learned something
    long ago playing poker (He was the U.S. Poker Champion in 2004). If
    you think you’re beat, don’t go all in. If Part 1 makes [enough of]
    a return to support Part 2, I’ll do it. Other than that, I’ll throw
    the hand in.” All in all, based on the Globe’s short take on Mr. A,
    he would have been the kind of character that Ayn Rand would have
    lined up with her heroes in their fight against her villains.

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