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
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Directed by Frank Capra
British diplomat Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) and a small group of civilians crash land in the Himalayas, and are rescued by the people of the mysterious, Eden-like valley of Shangri-la. Protected by the mountains from the world outside, where the clouds of World War II are gathering, Shangri-la provides a seductive escape for the world-weary Conway.
Ronald Colman's longfull heartbreak glance as he leaves Shangri-la, a soulful expression not easy to get out of one's mind.
Director Frank Capra takes us into a place of danger and turmoil and gives us a glimpse of what dreams are made of, we can all make it happen with just a little effort on our part.
'Lost Horizon' is indeed a remnant from the Golden Age of Cinema.
A truly great adventure with Colman at his best in the role of Conway
Academy Awards for Art Direction (Stephen Goosson) & Film Editing (Gene Havlick & Gene Milford)
Nominated for Oscars Best Actor in a Supporting Role (H.B. Warner), Best Assistant Director (Charles C. Coleman), Best Music, Score (Dimitri Tiomkin), Best Picture (Columbia), Best Sound, Recording (John P. Livadary)
For fans of Ronald Colman, Lost Horizon is just right for you. Highly recommend!
1. Frank Capra [aka: Francesco Rosario Capra] (Director)
Date of Birth: 18 May 1897 - Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
Date of Death: 3 September 1991 - La Quinta, California
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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.
Most recent customer reviews
A magical piece of movie history. The story is so imaginative, like a fairy tale that takes the viewer into a mystical venue. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Margaret Walker
A timeless classic and now with a restoration which is a wonder in itself. One of my favourite films of all time !!!Published 9 months ago by Gregory C.
It is my husbands favourite movie of all time, because it is a hopeful plan in our time of greed and corruption.Published 17 months ago by mary trott
One of my favorites movies and one that does give hope in finding Shangri-La.Published 17 months ago by K. Mccoy
I had seen this many times on TV while growing up. It was the truncated version so seeing the 'restored' movie with still images in places where film had been too corrupt or... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2013 by Avenger7
Frank capra was not always thought of in the U.S. as having been its greatest of filmmakers. By the 50's with a new group of writers in hollywood and its neo realism, the maker of... Read morePublished on July 27 2013 by Anthony Marinelli
LOVE this film - even though it was written in 1935 or so , every moment of it is perfection . I read the book in highschool as required reading , and love the film even more. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2012 by Maria Schatz
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