May 22, 1949
I have learned, from an authentic source, that the movie department of Life Magazine is against the picture of THE FOUNTAINHEAD.
Since you told me that Henry Luce is an admirer of my novel and that he truly understands it, I would like you to ask him to see the picture for himself before its release. Then, if he does not like the picture, it is certainly his right to let his magazine attack it in any way he pleases. But if he does like it, then I would like to see him do justice to it.
The picture is more faithful to the novel than any other adaptation of a novel that Hollywood has ever produced. Therefore, I think it would be somewhat tragic, if Mr. Luce’s own magazines attack it—if the novel did mean a great deal to him. In view of the fact that the picture is totally unprecedented and different from all other movies, every man has to judge it for himself.
I would like you to make very clear to Mr. Luce that this is not a hint for favorable reviews or an attempt to have you influence his judgment. It is only a request that he give the picture a hearing and judge for himself. I’ll rest on the evidence. If he does not like the picture—fair enough.
I expect a violent public controversy about the picture, and I am prepared to take care of its enemies. But this is the time when I would like the friends of THE FOUNTAINHEAD to stand by it.
If you know Mr. Luce well enough to speak to him about this, I would appreciate it very earnestly indeed. But if you feel for any reason that it would not be right for you to do it, then please don’t. You may tell him that the request comes from me and show him this letter, if you wish.
If he cares to see the film, I am sure that he won’t have any trouble in arranging to have the New York office of Warner Bros. show him the film before its release. Or I can arrange the showing for him. But I have not discussed this with Warner Bros. at all. This is a personal request from me, prompted by what you told me about Mr. Luce’s reaction to the book.
I am looking forward to seeing you in July. Until then—our best wishes and love to you from both of us,