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Post 20

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 3:42pmSanction this postReply
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Michelle, you wrote: "I recall that Peikoff admitted to the affair as early as 1986, when the Passion biography came out. He said he had been looking through Rand's papers since her death in 1982, and found some journal notes indicating that there was an affair between her and Nathaniel Branden."

No, I believe that Peikoff's discovery that there was an affair was later than 1986. When "The Passion of Ayn Rand" was published, Peikoff and Schwartz angrily denounced me for all kinds of evil for daring to say that there could possibly have been an affair between Rand and Nathaniel.

Peikoff finally admitted that there had been an affair when he was asked a question about it at the Ford Hall Forum. He said that his then-wife had been going through some of Rand's papers, and had found entries making it clear there had been an affair lasting many years.

Strange, Peikoff's letter of apology to me must have been lost in the mail; I never received it.

Barbara

Post 21

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
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The more I hear about this Peikoff fellow, the less I like him.

Post 22

Friday, October 29, 2004 - 5:34amSanction this postReply
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Barbara,

I was in the audience at the Ford Hall Forum when Peikoff admitted that Cynthia looked through Rand's papers and found her journal notes about the affair. The year was 1987, not 1986 as I thought, but still earlier than 1997, when the SOL movie came out, which was what Marcus thought.

Post 23

Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 4:53amSanction this postReply
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Peikoff's letter of apology to me must have been lost in the mail; I never received it.
In my opinion, Branden's portrayal of you in "Judgment Day" is a far greater offense.



Post 24

Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 7:31amSanction this postReply
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Michelle: "In my opinion, Branden's portrayal of you in 'Judgment Day' is a far greater offense."

It's not news that I considered it wildly inaccurate, which I made loudly and publicly clear. He did, however, present a somewhat more reasonable picture in "My Years with Ayn Rand."

I thank you for objecting to the portrayal in "Judgment Day."

Barbara

Post 25

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 8:39amSanction this postReply
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I watched the movie again over Christmas.

 

Actually Nathaniel Branden is mentioned even more than I remembered.

 

Peikoff is highly complimentary of him, saying that he was very intelligent and articulate and would charm anybody.

 

He didn't portray him as a heretic or evildoer at all.

 

Of course Barbara is definitely not mentioned. However, I believe she is in fact indirectly mentioned when Peikoff talks about how many of "us" were introduced to Ayn through friends and relatives.

 

From memory, did not Barbara introduce her cousin Leonard Peikoff to Ayn Rand? 

 

It's a bit weird that he doesn't seem to want to talk about Barbara directly though.

 

I still thought that it was a very well-made documentary and does portray her sense of life, even with all itís omissions.


Post 26

Monday, March 13, 2006 - 2:24pmSanction this postReply
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I was looking to purchase "Ayn Rand: A sense of life," and was wondering what is the difference between the original and the director's cut version?

Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
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Post 27

Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 4:02pmSanction this postReply
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This was exciting and moving.  If you have not seen it, you deserve the opportunity.

I stopped in at the library between errands and checking the sorting carts for whatever, I saw this.  I have the book.  I never saw the movie.  Reading this thread, I pulled out the book, and found five mint sheets of Ayn Rand 33-cent stamps.  ... and a copy of the Minkus article.

Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life is a favorable presentation of the woman who was the greatest philosopher of the modern age. 

At the detail level, I was surprised at how pretty she was when she was young, compellingly beautiful, a siren.  And Frank... he posed for John Galt in the early advertising for the book... drop dead handsome.  It was interesting that Gary Cooper was a fan of The Fountainhead and on his own initiative took the book to his agent, yet could not articulate the courtroom speech. Clearly, the book was an artistic statement to him.    It was said that Ayn Rand was uncomfortable as a public speaker.  Some of her appearances went smoother than others but she was always clear and complete.   Her last public appearance was at a gold seminar in New Orleans.  Blanchard sent a rail car for her.  (BTW: Steve Wolfer was at the Blanchard lecture in New Orleans.)  All in all, I recommend this as two hours well invested in your own happiness.


Post 28

Friday, August 6, 2010 - 4:53pmSanction this postReply
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I second that motion.

A stubborn relative I have watched it, but then commented that Ayn Rand was a "priviliged elite" -- writing for other elites.

I mentioned how she worked for $20-a-week in a linen factory, but to no avail ("But Ed, $20 was a lot back then."). I gave up at that point.

Ed


Post 29

Friday, August 6, 2010 - 5:32pmSanction this postReply
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Never heard about the linen factory.  She worked in wardrobe at RKO during the 30s.

Post 30

Friday, August 6, 2010 - 6:43pmSanction this postReply
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Peter,

Perhaps it was wardrobe instead of linen. All I know is -- from the movie -- she worked in some sort of factory-like setting making $20 per week. She did not particularly like it, but she did it to support herself.

Ed

Post 31

Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply
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Rand came here with nothing. I remember the story BB told of how Rand sometimes had nothing for supper but a chocolate bar and hot water.  Nothing "elite" about that.

Post 32

Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 7:32amSanction this postReply
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The DVD came as a two-disk set.  Director Michael Paxton read We the Living when he was in junior high school. He read everything else by Ayn Rand after that.  He majored in philosophy at Albany State University and then earned an MFA at NYU.  He also directed Ayn Rand's Ideal.  

The interview with Paxton showed him to be realistic and honest.  When asked about his limited success, he cited market realities: documentaries and biographies do not sell well.  Paxton found work in animation, which he confessed that he is not passionate about, but, tracking his filmography, I had to nod to his work with Disney Studios on Little Mermaid and other successes.  It takes discipline to be technically proficient at something you do not enjoy.  That discipline of focus was evident in this movie. 

How he came to choose Sharon Gless as the narrator would be interesting to know.  In the immortal words of John Lovitz, "Work is work."  In other words, you take the role that is offered.  Searching the official Sharon Gless website for Ayn Rand or Paxton returned no hits, though I got hits for Queer and Cagney.  So, while Paxton was pre-sold, Gless was not.


Post 33

Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 8:22amSanction this postReply
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ET: A stubborn relative I have watched it, but then commented that Ayn Rand was a "priviliged elite" -- writing for other elites.  I mentioned how she worked for $20-a-week in a linen factory, but to no avail ("But Ed, $20 was a lot back then."). I gave up at that point. 

Your relative does not argue well, but the fact is that while Ayn Rand had a hard early life, as most people do, she found success with The Fountainhead.  It was a struggle, to be sure, working in Hollywood, writing and not selling her works, and then seeing them mangled, Night of January 16th being the case in point; but she also found support. 

King Vidor shot an abbreviated speech for Gary Cooper, who was having trouble delivering ideas he did not understand fully, despite personal coaching by Ayn Rand.  When Rand saw the shooting, she was furious.  However, Jack Warner intervened on her side, ordering the speech to be shot as she wrote it.  She already had supporters, as in fact, she often did, not the first of whom was Cecil B. DeMille.  While her other early works made her known to libertarians, introducing her to Rose Lane Wilder and Isabel Paterson among others, The Fountainhead -- first the book, then the movie -- won exactly the victory she wrote about for Howard Roark.  Three years after the book was published, it was now a noted seller. 

I am sorry to be inexact here, but I xeroxed a Fortune magazine story about her from 1947 - 1953 which promised a new novel about business as powerful as The Fountainhead.  Realize, of course, that by then, she is over 40, approaching 50.  You never see the lean years when you meet someone in that context.  The fact remains that, Ayn Rand, was indeed, in a privileged elite.  She earned it.

We have a cultural prejudice against elites.  Maybe we should.  At least, we can fear the consequences of a self-defined and self-aware elite class.   In school for sure and at home often, we learned to dislike businesses and capitalists and financiers.  True, we Objectivists rise up when the issues are explicit.  However, in this case, arguing that Ayn Rand was not rich and powerful is a reflex response to a deeply learned prejudice. 

Also, myself, in recent years, I made "privilege" a trigger word.  Privilege means literally private law.  The lord of a manor had privilege.  When we expand that word to mean "having more than someone else" the sloppy thinking has harsh consequences.  Congressional representatives have privielge.  Writers do not.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/08, 8:27am)


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