Atlas Society News and Events

October TV Films With A "Rand Connection"

We've previously observed here that Terence Rattigan was one of Ayn Rand's favorite playwrights. Two films based on his work air this month on cable/satellite television.

"The Winslow Boy"—the 1999 movie version of one of Rattigan's most beloved plays—will be broadcast on Cinemax's "MOMAX" Channel on October 16th. The film sports uniformly fine performances, especially those of Nigel Hawthorne and Jeremy Northam, and an interesting screenplay adaptation by David Mamet. Mamet subtly shifts some emphasis among characters from the play, and adds a bit of a contemporary flavor to the story line. But he still maintains all the dignity, grace, and moral passion of the original. Highly recommended.

A somewhat disappointing film of Rattigan's "The Browning Version" appears on the Bravo Channel on October 17th. Much inferior to the outstanding 1951 movie starring Michael Redgrave, this 1994 update nonetheless features a strong performance by Albert Finney as a retiring schoolmaster trying to maintain his dignity in the face of his career failure and his wife's infidelity. Worth a look.

Michael Redgrave also heads the cast in a fine 1952 production of Oscar Wilde's famous and hilarious comedy of manners, "The Importance of Being Earnest." It airs on the Women's Entertainment (WE) Channel on October 16th. The attenuated "Rand connection" here is that Wilde's work was endorsed and carried in book catalogues offered by organizations with which she had once been associated. That's enough reason for me to commend this excellent film.

In the past we've also given a big "thumbs up" to the 1950 film tribute to profit-seeking capitalism, "Cash McCall." There's really no direct "Rand connection" with this film, except for the fact she once met co-star Dean Jagger. But seldom has the type of businessman-hero that Rand celebrated in her own fiction been more romantically or attractively portrayed elsewhere. James Garner turns in a splendid performance as the title character, and a young Natalie Wood is fetching as his romantic interest. It's hard to find films that endorse and defend the values of capitalism, and for that reason alone this one's a rare treat. But the story is simply great fun. Don't miss it when it appears on the Encore Love Stories (LOVE) Channel on October 10th, 19th, and 30th.

As always, check your local listings for the broadcast time in your area.

—Robert Bidinotto

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