Monday, November 14, 2011

The Isle Of Lost Ships

Letter to Henry Blanke from Ayn Rand.

Well, this is a long introduction in order to tell you what an exceptional plot value you have in The Isle of Lost Ships. If this story is given your kind of beautiful production—I will go on record, here, on paper, to predict that it will be a multimillion dollar hit.

This story has the same elements of appeal as The Fountainhead. No, not literally the same in specific surface detail, but the same in general principle—and that's what counts. It is not "realistic" (the audiences are sick of sordid realism), it belongs to my school and style of writing—romanticism. It is not a story of trite, homey, "everyday" people and events (and are audiences sick of that!)—it is a story of strong, unusual characters in unusual, exciting events and in a real, dramatic conflict. Its sex angle is, in spirit, exactly the Roark-Dominique romance—sex through antagonism, the love story of a society girl and a convict. Of all forms of romance, this is the most powerful one and the surefire one. This form is difficult to write—that is why we don't see it often on the screen nowadays. But the audiences are starved for it. People are sick of the lukewarm, sentimental, "mushy" treatment of most love stories on the screen. That is why they now laugh at love scenes. Observe that they did not laugh at our "rape" scene. The time is right for a real, strong sex story. But few stories have the elements needed for it. The Isle of Lost Ships has them all. As a sex story, it's tops.

I saw the silent version of The Isle of Lost Ships (with Milton Sills and Anna Q. Nielsen) when I was a child in Europe, and I have never been able to forget it. It was a tremendous hit and I remember the delighted excitement with which everybody talked about it. A good story is timeless. It cannot be dated. Its essential appeal will always remain the same. One merely has to modernize the surface details, such as the dialogue. A good story is like a beautiful body. A beautiful body is beautiful to any audience in any day, age or century; the only thing that changes is the fashion in clothing. The Isle of Lost Ships needs a writer to modernize its clothing, which is its treatment, technical details and dialogue. The body is there.

Needless to say, I am most eager to be that writer. This is the kind of story I love and can do well.

"Letters of Ayn Rand", Michael Berliner, editor. p. 430.

The movie was not re-made.

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