Briefly Noted: Eye to Eye With Ayn


Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words, a 2011 documentary produced with the cooperation of Rand heir Leonard Peikoff, presents a warm and fuzzy portrait of the notoriously prickly novelist and philosopher. The audio, drawn mainly from interviews by Mike Wallace, Phil Donahue, and Tom Snyder, includes touching anecdotes about Rand's early life in Russia, her bold foray into Hollywood as a young immigrant speaking broken English, her attraction to the actor who became her husband, their struggles during the Great Depression, and her gradual yet sudden success as a writer and champion of liberty. (After Warner Bros. offered her $50,000 for the movie rights to The Fountainhead, she recalls, she and her husband realized they could now afford the 65-cent dinner at a restaurant they frequented.) The film does not delve into unpleasant details such as Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden or the expulsion of heretics from her ideological circle. But it makes a credible attempt at showing what attracted them to begin with. —Jacob Sullum