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Lost Horizon

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton, John Howard, Thomas Mitchell
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: James Hilton, Robert Riskin, Sidney Buchman
  • Producers: Frank Capra, Harry Cohn
  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Columbia/Tristar Vid
  • VHS Release Date: Jan. 5 1999
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000493Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,232 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)

Product Description


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

Special Features

It seems almost inconceivable that a film as great as Lost Horizon would be nearly lost to the ravages of age and studio neglect. Fortunately, Columbia has compensated for past misdeeds with this superlative DVD release, which restores Capra's classic to near-complete form and provides a thorough--and thoroughly fascinating--account of the film's production and eventual restoration. Of particular interest to film buffs will be the engaging photo essay and accompanying narration by film historian Kendall Miller, whose affectionate (and infectious) obsession with Lost Horizon is expressed here for the benefit of posterity. Equally engrossing is the full-length restoration commentary by UCLA film preservation expert Robert Gitt, whose efforts to restore this film were nothing less than heroic. Unfortunately, Gitt is teamed in the commentary with retired Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin, whose contribution is amiable but superfluous. That quibble aside, this edition of Lost Horizon is one of the most rewarding DVDs of any classic Hollywood film. Although several of Frank Capra's other films have achieved a higher profile, Lost Horizon just gets better as the years go by, and with its wealth of supplemental features, this DVD is a definitive archival tribute. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John K. Ickes on June 14 2004
Format: DVD
I was surprised how much this classic touched me. Afterwards, it reminded me of John Lennon's lyrics: "Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans." For example, one stranded traveller, who is initially bequiled by the gold he found at Shangri-La, gradually has his heart opened wide by the children of Shangr-La, and he sees/feels the real riches around him. The old sage's only rule, "Be kind" was simple and great. I didn't balk at the fact that the two "Hollywood nymphets" (as referred to by another Amazon.com reviewer) were not Asian; because the old sage, himself, was a Belgian missionary and many of Shangri-La's inhabitants were supposed to have been lost foreign travellers who had been rescued. The idea of Shangri-La as a sanctuary for the meek who shall inherit the earth after the strong destroy the strong mysteriously forebode World War II's horrors that happened not too many years after this 1937 film was released. With today's Global Positioning Satellite technology, a hidden, physical Shangri-La could probably never be in the cards. However, it can dwell where it most should--inside us. (No, they don't make 'em like they use to.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn on Aug. 20 2003
Format: DVD
One of the earliest movies I remembered enjoying was "Lost Horizon". I remember watching it on a Sunday afternoon on TV and finding myself engrossed in this story of a planeful of assorted refugees who are flown to a remote paradise in the Himalayas. Dinner was ready before the movie was over but, some years later, I was finally able to see the end. There is a very real poetic beauty to this film (as there also is to the book which I felt compelled to read). For years, in my adolesence, I held out hope that explorers would eventually discover a real Shangri-la. Such is the rapture that can engulf you with this movie.
There is a great deal going for this movie starting with great acting from Ronald Colman through the supporting cast of Sam Jaffe, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton, etc. The directing is great as well. Could anyone other than Frank Capra have made this movie? There is action right from the beginning as the characters are hijacked and when the group is led through the mountains to the secret location. There is comedy, romance, and drama as well. But most of all there is hope.
This is a movie that came out at a time the world was about to go crazy and we were reminded that if we could get away from all the craziness we could still find peace and sanity. In time the movie has come to symbolize the Shangri-la that exists for all of us. As we are caught up in the stresses and strains of modern living, we dream of an escape to serenity. For many the struggle to find it is difficult, for others it may seem to find them, while others find it but fail to recognize it. Well, if you're having trouble finding your peace, you might just discover it in this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on March 19 2003
Format: DVD
This DVD is the one you should watch. The DVD not only has the 132 minute version, as close as you can get to the initial release. The DVD has great special features, a photo documentary, restoration commentary, the alternative ending, subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai!
And just look at the stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard, Margo, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton and more!
True, John Howard's character is a tad trigger happy, but the rest do a very good job.
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Format: VHS Tape
Director: Frank Capra
Format: Black & White
Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Video Release Date: June 28, 1994
Ronald Colman ... Robert Conway
Jane Wyatt ... Sondra
John Howard ... George Conway
Margo ... Maria
Thomas Mitchell ... Henry Barnard
Edward Everett Horton ... Alexander P. Lovett
Isabel Jewell ... Gloria Stone
H.B. Warner ... Chang
Sam Jaffe ... High Lama
Dennis D'Auburn ... Aviator (We Can't Take More Than Seven)
Val Durand ... Talu, Hijacking Pilot with Gun
Neil Fitzgerald ... Radio Operator
Willie Fung ... Bandit Leader at Fuel Stop-over
Lawrence Grant ... First Man
Joe Herrera ... Candle Maker
Boyd Irwin ... Assistant Foreign Secretary
Noble Johnson ... Leader of Porters (Return Journey)
Manual Kalili ... Servant
Richard Loo ... Shanghai Airport Official
Richard Master ... Servant
John Miltern ... Carstairs (Club)
Ray Mitchell
Henry Mowbray ... Englishman
Leonard Mudie ... Foreign Secretary with Prime Minister
John T. Murray ... Meeker (Club)
Wedgwood Nowell ... Englishman
Milton Owen ... Fenner, Hijacked Pilot
Max Rabinowitz ... Seiveking, Pianist with Sondra
Arthur Rankin ... Passenger
Richard Robles ... Porter
Chief John Big Tree ... Porter
Alex Shoulder ... Servant
Wyrley Birch ... Missionary
James Smith ... Porter
Norman Ainsley ... Steward (Club)
Carl Stockdale ... Missionary
John Tettener ... Montaigne (Club)
David Torrence ... Prime Minister
Eric Wilton ... Englishman
Barry Winton ... Englishman
Victor Wong ... Bandit Leader
Ernesto Zambrano ... Servant
Hugh Buckler ... Lord Gainsford (Toast at St. George Club)
Sonny Bupp ...
Read more ›
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