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Ayn Rand's popularity spurs release of the lost film, by Duncan Scott
Newsmax, United States Monday, February 1, 2010

105 years have passed since Ayn Rand was one, but her popularity is surging than ever before. Todays news lines show a striking resemblance with her fiction works. The Hollywood is taking note, and the release of the DVD of We The Living is a an unusual example.The movie was made in Italy, banned and later restored. It's release was a huge success in the United States, writes Duncan Scott in Newsmax.

Although Feb. 2 marks her 105th Birthday, novelist Ayn Rand’s surging popularity resembles that of a rising young literary star.

Rand, the controversial author of “The Fountainhead,” died in 1982, but her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged,” sold a half million copies in 2009, more than at any time in the 52 years since its publication. Why? Simply put, Rand’s 1957 epic chillingly foretells an America taken over by government bureaucrats coercing private industry and implementing draconian wealth redistribution legislation.

News media and the Internet have been abuzz over the uncanny parallels between Rand’s fictional tale and today’s news headlines.


Perhaps the most unusual example of the Rand on-screen phenomenon is the recent DVD release of “We the Living,” the long-thought-lost movie version of her first novel.


Rand had recently emigrated from the Soviet Union and was living in the United States during the filming. “With the war on, she didn’t even know her book had been turned into a movie until years later.” Scott added. “We the Living” is widely regarded as Rand’s most heartfelt story. It draws heavily from her personal experiences growing up in St. Petersburg. Rand would later say that the book was “as close to an autobiography as I will ever write.”

Set in Russia during the chaotic years following the Communist Revolution, “We the Living” is a powerful love story focusing on some of Rand’s most complex characters and visualized on an epic scale.

... ...

Shot at the famed Cinecitta studios in Rome, “We the Living” features a luminous performance by Italian screen legend, Alida Valli (“The Third Man,” “Senso”) and an important early-career dramatic role for Rossano Brazzi.


Not surprisingly, the movie was soon banned by the authorities. All prints and negatives of the production were ordered destroyed. “’We the Living’ would have been lost forever but one of the producers secretly hid the original negatives and sent in the negative of some other film to be burned!”

Almost three decades later, Ayn Rand’s lawyers, Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer, learned about the now-forgotten film and took it upon themselves to track down its whereabouts.

They brought the original negatives to the U.S. for restoration. Despite not having been involved in the original production Rand was very pleased with the film overall. The film required some re-editing which Rand personally mapped out.


It was released in U.S. theaters for the first time in 1988, ultimately playing in over 75 cities worldwide. Unfortunately, Rand never saw the restored version of the film. She died in 1982.


This article was published in the Newsmax on Monday, February 1, 2010. Please read the original article here.
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