Objectivist Screenwriting Alert


If any of you Randians have cable, I just noticed that the Ayn Rand-scripted movie Love Letters, featuring Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones, is on right now on Turner Classic Movies. I cannot recommend this picture as I've never seen it, but I like both the stars. We're still in the first reel.

NEXT: Virginia is for [business] lovers

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  1. I good film. Marred by an awful soundtrack. And the aunt is creppy.

  2. Crow: Dear Melissa, hi. How are you? I am fine. Remember when we met at college last year and fell in love? Sincerely, Andrew.

    Tom: Dear Andrew, I read your letter today and was overcome with love for you. By the way, I have married Stephen, but we’ll probably grow apart. More later, Melissa.

    Crow: Dear Melissa, that’s okay, I got married, too. But I totally love you. Andrew.

    Tom: Dear Andrew, I’m having Stephen’s baby, but I wanted to let you know that it’s *you* that I love. Take care, Melissa.

    Crow: Dear Melissa, I turn middle age this week. I’m a rich WASP and I love you. All my best, Andrew.

    Tom: Dear Andrew, I’m a grandmother now. Stephen and I have grown apart–go figure. I do so love you. Stay well, Melissa.

    Crow: Dear Melissa, my children have reproduced also. Our love endures through the years, huh? Boy, do I love you. Regards, Andrew. (lighting goes up)

    –MST3K, The Atomic Brain.

  3. Boy I miss MST3K.

  4. Boy I miss MST3K

    And how.
    But I wish they had packed it in when Joel stepped down. Without him the show was just pitiful. I was one of the poor slobs that saw the movie on opening day. Like watching a parent succumb to alzheimer’s

  5. Well I enjoyed it, but I think I missed some crucial dramatic stuff in the first few minutes. I’ve now seen three out of the four Jones/Cotten pictures, and a substantial portion of the fourth, Since You Went Away. I should write a monograph on Jennifer Jones and the way she generated some of her best sexual tension with charisma-challenged shlubs like Cotten and Charles Bickford. I think it’s a put-yourself-in-his-place effect: Hey, if a tool like him can score with Jennifer Jones, I must be in like Flynn! Another movie juiced up by the ominous presence of Gladys Cooper, who also made Jones’ life a living purgatory as the vindictive mother superior in Song of Bernadette.

    I have to admit, I didn’t detect any Rand style in the screenplay, though I’m not sure what the Rand style would be, short of having Joseph Cotten interrupt the action for a half-hour speech denouncing the parasitic masses.

  6. “I have to admit, I didn’t detect any Rand style in the screenplay,”

    Really? Nothing like:

    Cotten: Darling, why would you want to be with me, why do you love me?

    Jones: What? You mean you don’t know? Frack, I would have never figured you for a muddled mystic.


    Jones: You will commence to rape me now. You will like it and know why you like it.


    Jones: For your ginormous brain, you moron, why else?


    Jones: (Pauses. Continuing to stare straight into Cotten’s eyes she turns her head slightly to the right, and throws her voice over her left shoulder) Okay, you can come out now boys. Let’s give ol’ Joe the beat down of his life for that little display of irrationality.


    Jones: Oh silly, it’s your values…they mesh ever so perfectly with mine, like hand in glove, like shoe on foot, like….

  7. OK, this is obviously not the same “Love Letters” mentioned in the MST3K skit. My bad.

  8. hey, a little more heads up next time. i would have liked to see that!

  9. hey, a little more heads up next time. i would have liked to see that!

  10. hey, a little more heads up next time. i would have liked to see that!

  11. hey, a little more heads up next time. i would have liked to see that!

  12. hear hear hear hear!

  13. Allen Quinton: Call her… a pin-up girl of the spirit.

    Sounds like Miss Rosenbaum to me.

    And I hate Jennifer Jones. I just saw Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing on the Late Late Movie and she is just dreadful. You could see William Holden straining not to slug her.

  14. From a letter to her acquaintance Gerald Loeb:

    The truth about Love Letters, as I see it, is this: it is essentially a very silly and meaningless story — by the mere fact that it revolves around so unnatural a thing as somebody’s amnesia. No, it has no moral lesson to teach, nor any kind of lesson whatever. So, if you look at it from the standpoint of content — it has none. But it has one valuable point as a story — a dramatic situation involving a conflict. This permits the creation of suspense. If the basic premise — amnesia — doesn’t interest you, then of course the rest of the story won’t interest you. A basic premise in a story is always like an axiom — you take it or you don’t. If you accept the premise, the rest will hold your interest. as for me, I accept the premise out of sheer curiosity — nothing more deep or important than that. That is, granting such a setup — let’s see what can be made of it. My only interest in that picture was purely technical — how to create a good construction that would be dramatic and suspenseful, out of practically nothing. The novel on which the picture was based was a holy mess. Whatever story interest and unity it has, I had to invent. But we picked this particular novel because it had elements of a possible situation. That is very rare in picture stories.

  15. I saw this one years ago. Despite my general fondness for amnesia stories (or, at least, for amnesia stories that are not resolved with a second blow to the head), I though it was pretty tedious and sappy.

  16. Fondness for amnesia stories???? Give me a break some of you idiots will say anything to be on the other side of Rand.

    Other than Memento what other amnesia stories are you fond of?

  17. “Other than Memento what other amnesia stories are you fond of?”

    About every 5th episode of Smallville.

  18. Nurse Betty is the best amnesia story for my money. There are plenty of good ones, including the episode where Kirk thought he was the Cherokee god/chief Kirrok. It’s just a genre like any other; some are good and other aren’t. Who cares whether it’s believable or not?

    Jones and Holden suck equally in Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing, but she gets the edge for out-arguing the mainland Communist who is her foil in the movie, and for playing an “asiatic” type without makeup. Anyway, blaming Jones alone for that bomb is just another case of a woman getting all 100 percent of the punishment for only 50 percent of the crime. Holden stank up that picture, as he stank up most pictures he was in.

  19. “Give me a break some of you idiots will say anything to be on the other side of Rand.”

    Heheh, I think if you incorporated that into the H&R drinking game you might come up with a few swigs a week.

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