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Lost Horizon
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A timeless masterpiece starring ronald colman and jane wyatt in the lavishly produced vision of shanri-la. Special features: full screen version mono sound subtitles: english spanish portuguese chinese korean thai photo gallery with narration alternate ending three deleted scenes and much more. Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 05/27/2008 Starring: Ronald Colman Jane Wyatt Run time: 134 minutes Rating: Nr

James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon proposes a perfect hidden community within the uncharted Himalayas, a land where peace reigns and the inhabitants live for hundreds of years. So indelible is this mythical land that its name has entered the culture: Shangri-La. Director Frank Capra, riding high during his mid-'30s hot streak, spared no expense in creating Hilton's paradise onscreen, taxing the coffers of Columbia Pictures and the patience of mogul Harry Cohn. The results, however, are magical: shimmering, seductive, and maybe a bit foolish, truly the creation of an idealist (understandably, the spectacular art direction won an Oscar). And Capra's hero is an idealist, too. Ronald Colman, at his most marvelously elocutionary, plays a wise diplomat whose plane crashes in the snows of Tibet. He and the other survivors are guided to Shangri-La, where they wrestle with the invitation to stay. The young Jane Wyatt plays Colman's love interest, but leaving a more lasting impression are H.B. Warner, as the benevolent Chang, and Sam Jaffe, in great old-age makeup, as the wizened High Lama. This version has been restored as closely as possible to Capra's original cut; the film had circulated for many years in a trimmed form. Lost Horizon was remade, notoriously and hilariously, as a big-budget musical in 1973; it was a complete flop. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews:

  • One of the best
    I first got to see this in about 1987 or '88, when I was in high school. I fell in love with the story in general, and also the idea of Shangri-la. I think that's what draws most people to this movie; the idea of an ultimate Utopian society. The special features are also an added bonus. What really struck me about this was the one conversation Conway has with the High Lama. Now I have probably seen this movie one time since high school and didn't remember it very well. But, the High Lama is talking about all the problems in the world, and how mankind is going to destroy itself. The remnants of humanity will then want their knowledge and the people of Shangri-la will be there to greet them and help them. The chilling part of the whole thing is how much it sounds lilke what is happening today. The ultimate message is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago. This is very worth the watch....more info
  • Read the Book
    Although the basic story line has been retained, almost nothing else about this film recommends it. The characters are changed. The characters are miscast. And we are treated to a Hollywood version of a Hollywood paradise with a Hollywood quota of Hollywood bathing beauties ... with nude bathing scenes yet. None of the magic of the original story survives. Roald Coleman is cast as a dynamic, world famous diplomat whereas the original character has a more unassuming and less driven personality and is considered a failure doomed to serve in backwater locations. The main character's colleague has become his brother. This role is played in an extermely hysterical and melodramatic way. An equally hysterical hooker replaces the original prim female missionary. The exquisite Chinese girl is replaced by the typical girl-next-door American bathing beauty. The American swindler survives and is perhaps the best played role but has very dated dialog. A new character, a nervous British archeologist is added, probably, for comic relief. Of course, everyone speaks the most amazing English, even the children. My recommendation is to read the book ......more info
  • " Shangri-La"
    With those calmly spoken words, we and Ronald Colman are ushered into the remarkable fantasy world where no one grows old in real time and everyone seems supremely happy--except for the brooding Maria, that is. A menacing Mongolian hijacks Colman's plane and its passengers on a mysterious flight to a snowy mountain region beyond Tibet. What for? That's what the High Lama, played by Sam Jaffee has to impart to Colman. The other passengers are chomping at the bit to leave Shangri-La, but slowly get drawn into the life they have found there. Colman's feeling no pain either, as he begins a romance with Jane Wyatt, a pixie-ish lass he pursues to a romantic waterfall. But ultimately, he faces a difficult challenge: should he remain in this land, selfishly enjoying himself, or should he brave the blizzard conditions with his malcontent brother and Maria, his brother's girlfriend, to return to the frantic life he left behind? The film has wonderful atmosphere and even the archival footage worked into the video as still shots with the original soundtrack over them works well--it just makes you realize how great the actors' speaking voices were in the age of radio. My personal favorite scene is a prolonged conversation between Colman and the exceptional HB Warner as Chang, when Chang explains to Colman how Shangri-La was founded, while he and Colman are evidently cracking walnuts. The rapport between these two pros is excellent; you really don't want the scene to end, it's so well executed. I heartily recommend "Lost Horizon" as a simply enchanting movie....more info
  • FDR's Secret Base revealed in this Classic film
    The impact of this work over the years has been considerable. James Hilton wrote the novel as an anti-war ideal. Hilton was an intelligent man and saw what was coming for the world in the 30's and tried to create an imaginary place of ease, cultural pursuits and knowledge free from the toil and terrors of the world, especially death itself. It became a great novel in the history of fiction. The book became really big after pocket books produced the FIRST paperback and made this work the object of that new development. Then Capra made the monumental movie that we have all come to appreciate, once again, prophetic about the coming war and suggestive of continuance after humanity is done tearing each other apart. Yet, it was NOT finished, the spirit continued into World War II,after the first daring bombing of Tokyo, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the press that the source of the bombers came "from our secret base in Shangri-La Gentlemen!". With this in mind, Father Perot continues to deliver the message of "Be kind" to this day and Shangri-La is carried into every human mind that understands the basic philosophy behind this picture. Of course, since it was made in the 30's, it is somewhat dated now in characterizations, which remind you of Flash Gordon serials done at a slightly slower pace. Coleman reminds us of the cynical attitude we take as we roll with the punches that life throws upon us. When you get to this point, usually somewhere in your 40's, you are ready to throw in everything for just a chance at Shangri-La. Escape from the toils of the world into a physical ideal place is of course, a set in the imagination of writers, even Evelyn Waugh's Charles Ryder in 'Brideshead Revisited" (1945) sought "that low door in the wall that opened to an enchanted garden, where others I knew had gone before me, not overlooked by any window in that gray city". Our nature is like a restless Henry David Thoreau in "Walden" or a wandering Walt Whitman in "Leaves of Grass", always seeking that magic place where we will finally be able to sleep without worry. THIS is Shangri-La. It is part of the American Spirit and that is why this movie is such an important picture despite it's faults. Capra spent a lot on this production. Young people need to see it and understand that famous quote "those who do not learn from History are doomed to repeat it". Once again, forms of Fascism are on the Horizon. The "Lost" Horizon may be our own if we fail to communicate this to future generations. Let us hope that we can build Shangi-La in reality someday as more than just an ideal in our imagination....more info
  • The almost 'Lost Horizon'
    The Utopian vision may be hopelessly naive, the dialog may seem a bit creaky and pompous today,the FX may be dated, but 'Lost Horizon' remains a marvelously entertaining fantasy/adventure film. It is among the most beautifully photographed movies I have ever seen. The set built for Shangra Lai's palace and grounds is still stunning - simple, elegant, dramatic and visually arresting.

    Within the framework of the script, Shangri Lai and its people are quite believable. It is only when one considers the earth-shattering world events that would occur a few years after the movie's release does its vision of peace and harmony seem absurd. Yet, there is at the film's core an almost fanatical belief in the essential goodness of mankind that lights up some hidden dreams of harmony buried deep within many of us.

    Several minutes of the movie seem to have been lost forever. The audio portion survived, and the restorers added still photos to these sections. While it's nobody's fault, these still are a poor substitute for the original footage and make a dramatic case for the need for film restoration....more info

  • Beautiful
    A beautiful story I can watch over and over that always leaves me feeling good. ...more info
  • a true cinema classic
    Frank Capra's LOST HORIZON, based on the bestselling novel by James Hilton, is truly one of the milestones of modern fantasy cinema. The cast is impeccable, the sets inspired, and audience fascination for the material has only increased throughout the years. This DVD presents the film complete and restored to it's original 132 minute theatrical running-time.

    British diplomat Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) and a group of planecrash survivors find salvation in Shangri-La, a utopian civilisation nestled in the Himalayan mountains. The peaceful mantra of the Shangri-La community soon wins over the jaded members of the rescued party, and Robert finds tender romance with Sondra (Jane Wyatt). But the peace is shattered by Robert's hostile brother George (John Howard), and his suspicious mind.

    LOST HORIZON is filled with wonderful performances. The planecrash survivors are played with great skill by Edward Everett Horton, Isabel Jewell and Thomas Mitchell; with a finely-understated and regal Sam Jaffe playing Shangri-La's mythical High Lama. H.B. Warner also has a great presence as Chang, and the seldom-remembered Margo Albert plays George's scheming girlfriend Maria.

    Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt's performances lie at the very heart of LOST HORIZON. Their romance provides the base from which the entire story pivots; and I can't think of a better actress to play the lovely Sondra than Jane Wyatt. She is absolute perfection here.

    LOST HORIZON has had a very checkered past. When originally released in 1937, it's running time was a hefty 132 minutes. That was quickly cut down to 118 minutes for it's General Release; and further trimmed to 108 minutes in certain prints. During World War II, LOST HORIZON was re-released as "Lost Horizon of Shangri-La", running 95 minutes with the opening titles changed to implicate Japan into the plot. TV prints were utilised from the WWII reissue, and the full-length version was never heard from again.

    This new DVD version presents the complete, uncut LOST HORIZON for the very first time since 1937. The UCLA Film and Television Archive spent 25 years researching, restoring and gathering all possible materials to introduce audiences to director Frank Capra's original vision. The final product is sensational, displaying the beautiful Art Deco designs of Stephen Goosson, the haunting score of Dimitri Tiomkin, and of course the tender performances of Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt.

    DVD extra features include newly-discovered deleted scenes, audio commentary by UCLA restorer Robert Gitt and film historian Charles Champlin, photo documentary narrated by film historian Kendall Miller, the alternate 1941 reissue titles, alternate ending, and restoration comparison....more info
  • Another Frank Capra Masterpiece...
    If you're bored with the notion of Shrek 329 or Mission Impossible 741 - if you're looking for something more challenging in movies than special effects, then you may be in the market for Frank Capra's "Lost Horizon", made in 1937. The 1930s generated more movie classics than almost any period in motion picture history - either before or since. In that context, make no mistake, Lost Horizon is not just a classic, it is a movie masterpiece.

    In one interview, Frank Capra remarked that one of the most difficult things to achieve in film was to make the passing of time and distance plausible for the movie viewer. It was Capra's mastery of making time and distance pass, coupled with his innate sense of understanding of human nature, that made him a genius, and nowhere was this better exemplified than in Lost Horizon. The film completely draws you in. It takes you on an extraordinary journey which begins with a plane flight that spirits you away from a war weary world to the utopian world of Shangri-La. Ultimately, the film is a metaphoric exploration of what happens to different people when they are exposed to utopia - some have the intellect to understand that it is what they have been seeking; some refuse to accept it; some adapt to it and some learn to embrace it.

    The cast will be familiar to Frank Capra fans and includes H.B. Warner as Chang(brilliant); Thomas Mitchell (outstanding), and of course the charismatic Ronald Colman (also brilliant). The high-lama, played by Sam Jaffe, is extraordinary. The sets are visually stunning; the movie is haunting, enchanting and intellectually challenging. One of its characters ultimately summarizes the possibility of Shangri-La's existence with the statement "...I believe it because I choose to believe it..." After you have seen Lost Horizon, you may also choose to believe it. Buy the movie, don't rent it - this isn't Shrek or Mission Impossible - this is something you will treasure and will watch over and over again.

    ...more info
    This is a superb, academy award winning film, directed by the late, great Frank Capra. Based upon James Hilton's book of the same name, it is as fresh today as it was nearly sixty five years ago, when it was first released in 1937.

    The film opens up in Baskul, China, somewhere near the Tibetan border in 1935, where a minor revolution appears to be occuring, and foreigners are being evacuated. A world weary and dashing diplomat, Robert Conway, magnificently played by the ever handsome, melliflously voiced Ronald Colman, is directing the evacuation efforts. He, his brother George, and three others, two men and one woman, manage to board the last plane out of this rife torn area of China. Unbeknownst to them, their pilot has been overcome by another person, who comandeers the plane.

    They finally realize something in wrong when they notice that the plane is traveling west instead of east. Moreover, they are unable to do anything about it, as no one on board, other than the pilot, can fly a plane. They seem to be flying in the Himalyan region, as they are surrounded by snow capped peaks, flying at an altitude of about 21,000 feet. Suddenly, their plane lands in the mountains, the pilot dead at the controls. Strangely enough, they are met by a crowd of people, as if they were expected. At their head is a Mr. Chang, a very dignified gentleman, masterfully played by W.B. Warner, who provides them with appropriate clothing for a high altitude climb through a very daunting and precarious mountain pass. Fortuitously for all, Mr. Chang speaks English beautifully.

    After a seeming death defying trek through the mountains, in what appear to be blizzard conditions, they arrive at a beautiful and peaceful valley protected from inclement weather. They have now reached the mythical and utopian kingdom of Shangri-La. It is here that Robert Conway meets Saundra, the woman of his dreams, played by a very young and beautiful Jane Wyatt. It is love at first sight.

    He also discovers that his plane was comandeered with the express purpose of bringing him to Shangri-La, as it is the wish of their dying leader, Padre Perro, a Belgian priest, played with saintly spirituality by Sam Jaffee, that Conway should be the new leader of this utopian paradise, where people seem to live long, very long, lives. Touched by the saintliness of Padre Perro and in love with the beauty and peace he sees and feels all around him, Conway is very much interested in remaining. It is as if he had finally found that for which he had been searching all his life.

    His brother, George, however, has no wish to stay, the only one of those who were on board the plane who feels that way. An attractive young woman whom he met in this idyllic spot, and who has fallen for George, professes to want to leave, as well. Together the two of them persuade Robert to leave. Giving in to them out of a sense of obligation, he leaves with them, but what happens on the way back to the world that they knew, convinces Robert that he must return to Shangri-la and the woman he loves, at any cost. What happens next will not disappoint.

    This film is a masterpiece that keeps the viewer enthralled. While some of the events that occur during the film are higly improbable, that does not dampen the enthusiasm that one is sure to develop for this well made movie. It is, without a doubt, a cinematic classic....more info
  • More truthful than you realize
    I appreciate the movie much more after realizing that the Shangri La was based on an actual monastary and not limited to the author's imagination. There are some scenes and dialogue with the High Lama that are nothing less than profoundly spiritual. A great movie; enjoy. The 1973 version is also worthy, but nearly impossible to find....more info
  • Lost Horizon the original
    Hijacked in an airplane from a local uprising, british passengers find themselves high in the himalayas, in a mysterious land with a great secret. It has been restored. This is a classic, as is the book. I heard that when Mallory was climbing Everest, that some monks came to camp and provided them food (where did I read this? newspaper?) Then Mallory went missing. I read that that was the basis for the idea of the book. Though they recently found Mallory, and they found Guge and Hunza (shambala, shangri la), I know in my heart that this Shangri La is there, somewhere waiting for us to find it. ...more info
  • Mr Chang and his Shangri-La.
    When I heard this film LOST HORIZON (1937), was being painstakingly restored and with much more footage found in the vaults, after seeing some of the footage, I thought I had to see it some day. They say every film student and movie buff should see it.
    The fact that actress, Jane Wyatt [Father Knows Best tv series (1954-60) and reunion tv-movie (1977), also played Spock's mother in a STAR TREK episode and Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1986)] also appears in the film peaks my interest.
    This version is with the complete 2 hours, 12 minutes soundtrack with only 18 minutes of found footage put back into the film. Since 7 more minutes of footage was never found, this is replaced by photography stills and freexe frame images.
    I won't say anything about the plot, but this DVD package does contain a nice pamphlet containing the restoration work they have done on this film. Jane Wyatt's swimming nude scene is included.
    DVD includes subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai. Theatrical Trailer.
    Special Trailer include an Alternate Ending. Restoration: Before and After Comparison with deleted scenes of Jane Wyatt.
    Photo Documentary.
    Restoration Audio Commentary.
    Jane Wyatt passed away October 20, 2006 at the age of 96 of natural causes.
    Shangri-La was actually a hollow set at Columbia Ranch near Perduco and Hollywood Way in Burbank, california. The site is now the Burbank Town Center Mini-Mall.
    Remade in 1973 in color with an all-star cast with Liv Ullmann, Sally kellerman, George Kennedy, Michael York, Olivia Hussey, Bobby Van.
    ...more info
  • Best Lines...
    This movie was certainly accurate on what would happen during WWII and the wars to follow. Yes, we all need a Shangri La to lay our weary minds to ease. Two of my most favorite lines are " Welcome, to Shangri La" and in the Flynn Robin Hood, when Robin swings into view across the screen, opens his arms and says "Welcome to Sherwood!" To be seen over and over, till sight leaves one.......more info
  • Lost Horizon
    Movie was good. DVD sometimes stopped during the playing of the movie. Interesting facts about how it was redone. A classic.
    N.P....more info
  • Capra's most moving, underrated film....
    This is my favorite Capra film. It's so beguiling, gentle, and incredibly sincere. The film's opening sequences are genuinely terrifying. It makes you feel like you're in a foreign country falling apart. The scenes where they get to Shangri-La, well, I really don't have words to convey the feelings that I feel. You actually feel the place exists. It's not a pipe dream (to quote Eugene O'Neill), but a real dream. The opening text talks about a time of wars and rumours of wars, don't we all wish for a Shangri-La? Sounds like that could be at anytime in the history of mankind. Capra directs this film magnificently, getting superlative performances from Ronald Coleman, Thomas Mitchell (one of the greatest character actors ever), Margo, and Edward Everett Horton. It's Capra's most mystical film. The restoration, for the most part, is excellent. There are some stills where the picture was lost (but they have all the sound). This is a little off-putting at first, but there's not much of it. Thankfully, the film has survived, otherwise we'd be stuck with the remake (which was supposed to be one of the worst films ever made). ...more info
  • Paradise lost
    In 1933, when James Hilton's utopian novel LOST HORIZON was published, the threat of the world again at war was such that novel about finding a hidden and peaceful paradise could become a bestseller in the United Kingdom and the United States (it was, incidentally, the first contemporary novel to become a Penguin paperback because of its popularity). It was inevitable that it would become a movie, and Frank Capra was probably the ideal person to direct it, given his interest in happy endings and his previous film on war-torn China THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN. His 1937 LOST HORIZON evokes that earlier film in its superbly suspenseful opening scenes on a Chinese airfield as its city is overrun by invaders. These early scenes and the subsequent sequence on a hijacked plane (which Steven Spielberg clearly did homage to in INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM) and the subsequent sequence with the pane's crashing in the Himalayas, and the passengers making passage through the mountainous waste to the hidden haven of Shangri-La, are about as fine as anything Capra ever did in terms of sheer suspense, and could scarcely have been bettered. It's only once we get to Shangri-la itself--which, as Graham Greene famously noted, looks like a film star's Beverly Hills mansion--that the film runs into trouble. The tedious scenes with Sam Jaffe as the High Lama passing on wisdom to the film's hero (Ronald Colman) are just about insufferable, and paradise hardly seems the best topic for a film (it inevitably looks pretty boring, as Shangri-La does here). But Colman and the rest of the cast are in fine form; few directors could get such consistently strong and naturalistic work out of their actors as could Capra. Colman is superb, as are John Howard (as his dissatisfied brother George) and Margo (as a Russian woman eager to leave Shangri-la); Jane Wyatt does a fine job with the awful role of Sondra, who was born and raised in the mountain enclave, and she gets a sexy nude swimming sequence that must have been inspired by Hedy Lamarr's work a few years earlier in ECSATSY.

    The film was notoriously and fatally trimmed soon after its release, but eventually the entire soundtrack was restored and most of the missing film sequences; those few sections still missing the actual film footage are allowed to run with the soundtrack and stills to show what happened. The cinematography is excellent. Much of the outdoor scenes in the Himalayas were clipped from the German Bergenfilms on the 30s, but Capra at least had the wisdom to steal from the best: some of the shots are absolutely breathtaking, especially given their age....more info
  • Lost Horizons
    Fine old film, well acted for it's time, and well put together, considering the film had a few lost portions that had to be re-constructed. The audio is all there. The missing video portions, which are not lengthy, are covered with the original audio and filled in with stills. A good product for film buffs....more info
  • The Valley of the Blue Moon
    James Hilton's novel was fashioned by a young Frank Capra in the 1930's into this flawed but must-see film classic. Robert Riskin's screenplay is too preachy at times, with less emphasis on the romance than there should have been, but an exciting finish and terrific individual moments make this a great film anyway.

    Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) is in the Chinese city of Baskul in 1935 when the film opens, evacuating the Americans by plane during the revolution. He is a man who sees the big picture, however, and though in line for advancement to Foreign Secretary, cannot get around the many Chinese sure to die as the last plane takes off.

    Onboard is his his brother George (John Howard), a dying young woman of loose virtue named Gloria (Isabel Jewell), stuffy Lovett (Edward Everett Horton), and Thomas Mitchell as Barnard, an easygoing fellow on the run from the law. What they all have in common is they are all in the same boat, or rather plane, as the case may be, as they soon discover their pilot is dead and a Mongolian is flying them to an unknown destination deep in the mountains of Tibet.

    Their journey has only just begun once they crash land in the snow, however, apparently all part of a plan. They meet Chang (H.B. Warner) and his party, who will guide them over a treacherous pass sure to kill many until they reach a paradise-like garden city deep in the Valley of the Blue Moon they all call Shangri-la. It is almost unreal, cut off from the rest of civilization. There is peace and harmony there, the kind Robert writes about in his books.

    Robert will soon discover that it is those books which has brought him here. Jane Wyatt is young and lovely as Sondra. It is she who has read them and saw in Robert a lost soul who might possibly find a home in Shangri-la. The rest of the group, however, are intent on being rescued and brought back to "civilization." Conway is at home here in this magical place with no need for doctors, no crime, and no communication with the outside world. He soon meets the Belgian priest who began the colony and discovers him to be over 200 years old.

    It isn't long before Barnard and "Lovey" become ensconsed in Shangri-la and become pals, despite their original animosity. The sick and painted-up Gloria is soon restored to good health, prettier without the make-up. Lovey will begin teaching the children and find his true calling. And Barnard will use his experience as a plumber to draw up designs for water transport to the remote valley.

    But Robert's brother George is weak and wants out. He finds that same restless spirit in the exotic Russian girl, Maria (Margo), who says Shangri-la is all a lie. It will cast a seed of doubt in Robert's heart which will either delay his acceptance as the new leader of Shangri-la or destroy it forever. Sondra desperately races after him with only Chang's reassurance that he will return any comfort to her broken heart.

    While some stills are used sparingly during some brief moments of missing footage, it is not what mars this Capra classic. Rather, it is Riskin's talky screenplay. While it often worked to good advantage in Capra's social comedies, it gives this film, wonderful as it is, a cerebral feel. What lifts it back up is the romance.

    Joseph Walker's cinematography is lush and romantic. Nearly out of the blue, as though they belonged in a Frank Borzage film rather than a Capra one, are scenes between Colman and Wyatt so filled with romance they are like a rainbow cast over the Valley of the Blue Moon. Wyatt is pure and lovely in a swimming scene and she and Colman's moments of happiness while he tries to grasp it all are never to be forgotten. It is that human romance, in addition to the romantic notion that perhaps we each still have a chance to find our own Shangri-la, and someone to share it with, that make this a must-see film for true film buffs....more info
  • Lost Horizon
    First of all one needs to view this film within the context of the period in which it was filmed. The performers in this movie are like a 'whos who" of Hollywood -- excellent performances by all. One cannot help but be amazed at the art direction in this film, and the cinematography is remarkable. It was "Oscar" quality when it was first released and it hold up very well today....more info
  • A gem of a movie.
    It's been decades since I last saw this movie. This DVD, except for the footage that could not be reproduced/digitized, was as if I saw the movie yesterday. This was an excellent purchase. ...more info
  • Objectionable apology for authoritarianism,
    This is a movie with the reputation of being a "classic"and I know that many people do not merely like this movie, but love it.
    The other reviews make this clear and I respect these views but on a personal note I did not merely dislike the picture but hated it with every fibre of my being.
    The reasons are in part aesthetic,as I found it soporific in pace and not terribly well acted or scripted ,.Colman ,an actor I normally admire ,is dull here and Jane Wyatt ill suited to her role The characters are types rather than rounded individuals although the support players struggle gamely with insipid dialogue and sketchy roles.
    My fundamental objection is to its political and philosophical leanings.The government of Shangri-La is an autocracy and an oligarchy,ruled by a self-perpetuatind clique who decide what is best for the people.The scenes of the local populace going about their labours are eerily reminiscent of the type of propaganda newsreels churned out at around the same time as the movie by the European dictatorships.
    Shagri-La is not an earthly paradise ;it is an autocracy prepared to kidnap those it feels well serve them,and keeping its subjects in thrall to their leaders dictates The movie it most reminds me of is "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" but here the only ones who have the insight and intestinal fortitude to oppose the regime(Maria and George)are treated with little or no symathy by the script

    If you love the film you will keep on doing so despite what anyone else thinks and rightly so,but I really found this autocratic wolf in moralistic clothing deeply offensive....more info

  • Lost Horizon
    For any of you who have never seen this, this is the movie about Shangri-la. It is worth seeing simply to know what the reference means, but is also nice on its own. I'd rather not spoil it for any who have never seen it....more info
  • A cinematic classic but then in the 'Hollywood' version therein ...
    One of the great cinematic classics of a classic novel [** by James Hilton] although once again Hollywood takes "liberties" or so termed "creative license" with the original work where the cinematic rendition of the book differs from the original book itself and characters are simply added [or subtracted] for the seemingly more important "for the sake of the plot and audience appeal" issues. Names are even changed as well, as are other character professions. You know, the cinematic character "Lovett" the "palaeontologist" is nowhere to be found in the original novel and the lone female character [on the plane] moves from a missionary [in the book] to a running away from the world prostitute in the movie. Even the main book character is "Hugh Conway" but becomes "Robert Conway" in the movie.

    Why are these modifications made! For a number of reasons ... or so say those who call the shots as, for example, in the case of the Alexander Dumas masterpiece, "The Count of Monte Cristo", where in one of those "The Making of ... " bonus featurettes on the DVD the producer comes right out and says that while the book is indeed a "classic of great literature" and advises viewers to "read the book", he then continues, "It just doesn't make for a good 'cinematic' representation of the plot [!] [...] and audience appeal [!] is a factor that must be considered with regard to plot or plot endings and therefore certain "creative liberties" [! -- Oh-Oh! Watch out for 'that' one!] are taken for a better 'cinematic' result." Translation: The original author's work is very often tinkered with or modified either in part or in whole [especially when new characters suddenly show up 'for the sake of the plot'] if the 'cinematic' portrayal makes for a better [!] presentation than the original book. Or classic therein.

    That all said, I liked the cinematic version and I thought the portrayal of "Robert Conway" by Ronald Colman [** Note! It's "Colman", and 'not' "Coleman"] was excellent casting [fess up now, the 'cinematic' version and the whole cloth manufacturing of Conway's brother, George, talk about the brother being a, and quickly borrowing a word from the cinematic Conway, a "babbling" liability from the get-go, whew!] -- his reaction [George] and without giving away what happens even tho' this movie has been around since the mid 30's, anyway, George's reaction to seeing 'Marie' and her 'face' outside of Shangri La was almost expected as the guy seemed to react poorly [some would say 'flakey'] to virtually everything in the movie that didn't involve finding porters to get out of the place!]. I thought Sam Jaffe [a few years later rendering a superb performance as "Gunga Din" in '39] did a great job as the High Lama and our good friend 'Chang' with his quiet intelligence and rather personable demeanor.

    As for 'Shangri La' itself, well, it seems to me that each person has their own idea(s) on what constitutes same but as a dyed in the wool realist 'and' considering the greatest enigma of them all, human nature, I'm not sure that any idealist envisioned 'utopia' would ever be possible and the 'best' that the species can at least hope for are protracted periods of peace and to the extent 'humanly/humanely' [!] possible. Recall even in the movie version of "Lost Horizon" when Sondra [** Jane Wyatt] says about the outside world she's never seen, " ... Yet I just know that secretly they are all hoping to find a garden spot where there is peace and security, where there's beauty and comfort where they wouldn't have to be mean and greedy ..." and Conway comments, albeit quite realistically so, "Then it wouldn't be a garden spot for long." [sic] That's a dose of stark reality! And the unpredictability of human nature and human behavior therein. And, I'll add at once, as the historical record itself [and over the centuries] so readily demonstrates.

    Doc Tony ...more info
  • The Legend Shines Even Brighter!!
    Ronald Colman is truly one of the GREAT Hollywood legends, and it is a dream come true to be able to see missing footage from "Lost Horizon" after SO many years!! This is absolutely one of the greatest movies of all time, and represented a major achievement in motion picture history. Sometimes I think about how wonderful it would be if a remake of "Lost Horizon" was made today utilizing all the special effects technologies not available in 1937. Ah, but then reality sets in and I realize: Who could ever play the part like Ronald Colman?? His biography says it all: "Ronald Colman: Gentleman of the Cinema". And, he never shines brighter than in "Lost Horizon"!!...more info
  • Shangri-La
    If you enjoy movies similar to Seven Years in Tibet or any movie featuring faraway fantasy escapes where mankind seeks peace, then this movie might interest you.

    Lost Horizon is not the lavish classic it once was. Strangely enough, a movie about people who lived for 200 years was not protected or preserved properly and Robert Gitt's restored version is an extraordinary accomplishment. Robert Gitt worked for over 25 years to find enough footage to restore missing scenes.

    The dramatic start and the confusion of the first few scenes draw you into the movie and then a surprisingly leisurely-paced plot keeps your attention to the last second. As a plane takes off by the light of the burning hangers, a few lives have been saved while the fate of those left behind is not really discussed. Once aboard, they realize this plane is flying in the wrong direction. To make matters worse, the plane crashes in the mountains and leaves the passengers stranded in the bitter cold.

    Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) is almost unnaturally calm in the face of certain death and throughout the movie he displays the qualities of a hero who is faced with difficult choices. At first he is a captive of Shangri-La's choices and then later he puts his life at risk to follow his destiny.

    I did love when Conway said: "Not knowing where you are going is exciting..." Conway wastes no time anguishing over the unpredictability of life and is a great example of how we can stay calm in the adventure of life itself. I saw this movie as a metaphor for everyone who is seeking an escape from the conflicts of our planetary existence. In a way, the message in Lost Horizon reminded me of the messages in the movie Camelot.

    The ideas of how we are killing ourselves with "indirect suicide" are still very relevant for today. Walking for 30 minutes and then practicing yoga for 70 minutes is sure to dissolve mountains of stress. If you do that before watching this movie, it can only help to dissolve even more stress. Yoga (a meditation of the body and not a religion) definitely makes you feel and look younger than your age.

    The romance in this movie is quite mild and I actually preferred the alternate and more dramatic ending. There are a few flaws in the Shangri-La philosophy of life. How could anyone be happy giving away the woman they loved? While the heart may want peace, the heart may prefer conflict in such cases. It does seem that at times we humans thrive on inner conflicts and external controversy.

    We are born for the struggle, but Shangri-La definitely sounds like an interesting vacation escape, just don't make me live there without computers. ;) There are ways to find inner peace and I assume that if everyone did yoga, no one would have any time to start wars because they would be floating in some blissful state that is difficult to explain, but very real.

    ~The Rebecca Review ...more info
  • Shangri-la
    Everyone dreams of a world with no wars and peace with everyone. This film, a great story about finding, losing and finally finding again such a place, is such a feel good film that never looses it's appeal...more info
  • Is this how the West imagined Tibet in 1937?
    The film, its restoration, the director, the actors, and the comparison between the book and film have been commented upon extensively and expertly in previous reviews.

    Since the story firmly places Shangri-La in Tibet, and since Frank Capra employed a "Tibetan expert" throughout the filming of Lost Horizon, it's not pointless to spend a little time on the subject of the real-life Tibet vs. the Tibet in Lost Horizon.

    In the 1930s, this film surely must have mesmerized its audiences with its depiction of Tibet as a utopian land of magic and mystery nestled within the forbidding folds of the Himalayas. However, knowing what we know about Tibet and Buddhism today, it is difficult to be fully taken in by the fantasy world depicted in the film. Clearly the author of the story and Frank Capra must have known something about the real culture of Tibet, as did the "Tibetan expert" who assisted Capra in the making of the film. However, upon watching the film today, one must conclude that they knew only the most rudimentary scraps of information about Tibetan culture, or they completely abandoned the truth in favor of the vaguely Asian Hollywood fantasy-world that was conjured up for the film. If the latter is true, I understand completely, but then why use a "Tibetan expert", or for that matter, why bother to call the land Tibet at all?

    The first thing we see as the film reveals Shangri-La for the first time is a rather authentic looking Buddhist Stupa, seemingly a good sign of authenticity to come. But then things radically depart from there to a world only Hollywood of the 1930s could have imagined.

    The ordinary inhabitants appear to be of Asian ancestry, and wear clothing that appears to be vaguely inspired by Chinese clothing of the time. Some of the men wear robes that seem to have some basis in the robes worn by Tibetan Buddhist monks. These Asian characters function almost entirely as peasants, manual laborers, and servants, which is largely how Americans saw Asians in the 1930s. Tellingly, the principle characters in Shangri-La, in other words the movers and shakers of this society are all non-Asians, speak perfect English, and dress in clothing that appears to be created by a costume designer who may have encountered Chinese clothing once in a magazine, and then tried to duplicate it from memory for the film. Forget about authentic Tibetan won't find a trace of it here.

    Perhaps the most ludicrous distortion in the film is the role of the "High Lama", who in 1930s Tibet would have been the Dalai Lama, who is first and foremost, a Buddhist monk. In the film, the High Lama is portrayed almost inexplicably as a Belgian priest, a Christian priest to be precise, who speaks of a society that will someday realize true Christian values. I can't quite figure out the motivation behind this absurd premise. Either this is a reflection of the extreme ignorance prevalent in American society at that time regarding the culture of Tibet and the true nature of Buddhism (an atheistic, and certainly non-Christian religion), or it is a purposeful revision of the truth to make it more appealing (or less repellent) to American audiences, who may have been looked disparagingly upon Buddhists if truthfully depicted as non-Christian atheists, or it is a reflection of the prevalent Christian belief that all non-Christians in the world must eventually be converted to Christianity.

    It seems clear to me that Tibet was regarded as a land so mysterious and magical that audiences of the 1930s could easily buy into the fantasy that it could contain a place like Shangri-La, which almost surely was inspired by the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. It is also clear that the Dalai Lamas that had ruled Tibet for centuries up to that time were so mysterious and magical that they were the inspiration for the 200 year-old High Lama character in the film (perhaps a vague nod to the Buddhist concept of rebirth, which could have been interpreted by Westerners at that time as immortality). Furthermore, it is also clear that the Potala Palace sitting on a high plateau overlooking Lhasa provided the inspiration for the similarly imposing, if distinctly non-Tibetan lamasery in the film.

    For me at least, the whole premise would have been much more ahead of its time, and much less ridiculous if it had stayed closer to the real life facts about Tibet and its culture and religion, which were so clearly the inspiration for the story.

    Or, if total fantasy was the goal, it would be much easier to be completely sold by the story if they had simply situated Shangri-La somewhere in the Himalayas and left it at that, without ever mentioning Tibet. If they had done that, we could marvel at the similarities between the mythical Shangri-La and its philosophies and the real-life Tibet and Buddhism. Instead, we can only marvel at how grossly misinformed Capra and his crew were on the subject of Tibet, its people, and its culture, and thus how ludicrous their version of Tibet is from a historical perspective.

    Fortunately, as Americans, we've come a long way since the 1930s in learning about the various countries, peoples, cultures, and religions with whom we share this world, as this movie sometimes painfully illustrates....more info