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.
Top Customer Reviews
the U.S> THis british film, produced at Columbia, has the theme of a pearl type existence here on earth on or near a mountain top, the summmit of revelation, a place of Buddhist pilgrimmage where a heavenly existence dwells. Age and sickness are in retreat..perhaps the very laudatory reviews of his films in the highly regarded Spectator in England in the 30'sa is the reason why Columbia boss and its director decided to go ahead and spend lavishly onthis film, which almost bankrupt its studio..but over the years made its money back.Read more ›
I gave it only a 3 because the quality of the restored film ... in most of the film, the picture is crystal clear ... but there are places where it's washed out or muggy, plus the still shots where film could be found.
The story holds up well.
If anything, I don't think adding in the edited film that had been cropped over the years added much to the story.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is one DVD that is hard to find! The price and quality were excellent. This will be my first stop next time I am looking for a vintage movie.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A little disappointed as the version I saw in the past showed that when they arrived in Shangrila everything was shown in colour (lush greenery and very vibrant colours) not sure... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great story, great acting, mesmerizing and thought provoking for our human heart.Published 3 months ago by Douglas
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 6 months 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 15 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 23 months ago by mary trott
One of my favorites movies and one that does give hope in finding Shangri-La.Published 23 months ago by K. Mccoy
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Action & Adventure > Classics
- Movies & TV > Drama
- Movies & TV > Mystery & Suspense
- Movies & TV > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
- Video > Action & Adventure > Classics
- Video > Classics > Action & Adventure
- Video > Drama > General
- Video > Mystery & Suspense
- Video > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Lost Worlds