January 8, 1949
Thank you very much for your Christmas greeting, and here is my greeting for the New Year:
We had a preview of THE FOUNTAINHEAD day before yesterday, on January 6. Jack Warner, Henry Blanke and all the executives who were present said it was the most sensational preview they ever attended. The picture was given the hardest test—it was previewed in an industrial district which they consider low-brow. It went over so brilliantly that Jack Warner decided they needed no further previews, and the final negative is being printed right now. Warner did not make a single change or cut.
The picture runs for an hour and 56 minutes, and the audience sat on the edge of their seats every minute of it—including Roark’s speech. The speech will go through as I wrote it. When I suggested that I could make certain cuts in it, if they wanted me to, Warner would not allow me to cut a single line. The studio is in an uproar, and Henry Blanke is simply stunned, just as I am. It was a real triumph.
Right after the preview, Jack Warner told me that he would buy my next novel right then and there, and I said that if he did as well with it, I would be happy to sell it. This is not a commitment, of course, but it will give you some idea of how we all felt. Blanke has done wonders with the editing of the picture, and I am completely satisfied with it.
I don’t know yet when the picture will be released, but the final print will probably be sent to New York in a week or two. I hope you will be able to see the picture there—and let me know what you think of it.
With my best wishes for the New Year,