Just a few weeks ago I watched The Fountainhead and wondered who the luminous beauty was who fizzed and crackled on the screen, giving Gary Cooper more than a run for his money as Dominique Francon to his Howard Rourke. She was Patricia Neal. With her exquisite cheekbones, strong brows and sulky pout, Neal seduced the camera, slinking around in fluid silk gowns or striding fiercely in shirts and riding breeches. This was 1949 – slap bang in the middle of the golden age of Hollywood, when actresses like Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman dominated the screen as strong female characters with all the best lines.
Patricia Neal won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Hud alongside Paul Newman in 1963, but it is as Dominique in The Fountainhead that I will remember her – cracking her whip and stealing the show. phoebe frangoul