Stephen Speicher

Collector's Edition of "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life"

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It is hard to add to the praise already heaped on Michael Paxton's magnificent documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, but the new Collector's Edition not only offers a widescreen version of the film, but also includes a second bonus DVD that itself is worth more than the price of this 2-DVD set.

The second DVD includes additional interview material not in the original film. There are delightful stories about Ayn Rand told by Leonard Peikoff, Cynthia Peikoff, and Harry Binswanger. Dr. Binswanger's stories were particularly enjoyable, especially the one about the time two nuns knocked on the door of Miss Rand's home in Chatsworth, California. Don't miss it!

Michael Paxton himself was interviewed on an episode of the show Filmmakers and this too is included in its entirety. Listening to Paxton discuss the making of the film, detailing the time, effort, and love that went into its production, I was again struck by his brilliance and the value he places on Objectivism and its creator. No one else could have made as beautiful a film as Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life.

A high point of the bonus DVD is the filmed version of Paxton's very successful 1989 production of Ayn Rand's play, Ideal. Those of us fortunate to have seen this world-premiere play in Los Angeles fifteen years ago remember hearing the splendor of Ayn Rand's words spoken by first-rate actors under Paxton's masterful direction. Those who did not, have a very special treat awaiting them. But even for those who previously saw the play, the filmed version offers an additional level of enjoyment because we get to see the action close up from the perspective chosen by the director. This adds another level of emphasis and meaning to the film. This part of the bonus DVD is a treasure.

Any fan of Ayn Rand will be delighted with this new Collector's Edition of Michael Paxton's Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life It is available directly from the Ayn Rand Bookstore

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A high point of the bonus DVD is the filmed version of Paxton's very successful 1989 production of Ayn Rand's play, Ideal

What the DVD offers is not the complete "Ideal," but excerpts, specially filmed for "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life" ... a little more than 50 minutes, total. I didn't get to see the play when it was staged; but the tape recorded reading version I heard from NBI in the '60s was about two hours long. So a lot has been cut. But this version does capture the essence of every scene.

Also, this is an adaptation ... though a respectful one, with the main change being a police detective questioning Kay Gonda, to connect the various scenes, and replacing the prologue.

And YES, the acting and directing ARE SUPERB! The person who compared watching this to being in a cathedral was absolutely correct. Seeing this masterpiece is a deeply moving experience.

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And YES, the acting and directing ARE SUPERB! The person who compared watching this to being in a cathedral was absolutely correct. Seeing this masterpiece is a deeply moving experience.

And aside from the pure joy of the play itself, it was fascinating to note the difference between the action that took place from my perspective in the audience, as compared to the filming of the play. Same actors, same action, but the camera now gets to move and emphasize the action from the perspective the director chooses as being ideal (pardon the pun). The experience of live performers on stage is unique, but great filmmaking can be exquisite.

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I had been meaning to ask where the excerpts from Ideal in the original Sense of Life movie had come from, since in my copy of _The Early Ayn Rand_, it said the play had never been performed. But that answers the question- the book I have was published before 1989.

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