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Lost Horizon [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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A British diplomat and other Westerners are hijacked by plane to a dying high lama's Tibetan utopia, Shangri-La. Directed by Frank Capra.
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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.Read more ›
The film gives the feeling as if it was a fast forward through the book (although it is over 2 hours long!). Many scenes of the book which would make the film a bit boring aren't included. In exchange there are many funny scenes which aren't in the book. Furthermore there are a few minor changes in the protagonists and there is a much more developed love story of R. Conway and Mallinson (George Conway in the film). The movie starts at Baskul and ends with R. Conway returning to Shangri-La.
Some parts of the movie (7 min) are only a slideshow of photographs with the original soundtrack because these scenes were cut out during the years and couldn't be recovered.
The Extras include the original trailer, a comparision of the restaured and the original movie, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a commented selection of production photographs.
All in all it is a very enjoyable and exiting film you shouldn't miss!
Thankfully then, Columbia has now produced an excellent restoration of this classic for us to savour. The film is based on James Hilton's fantasy novel, and marked a bit of a change of direction for director Frank Capra, who is best remembered these days for smart comedies such as "It Happened One Night". It was a massive financial gamble for the (then) tiny Columbia to take, but thankfully for us, the studio's faith in Capra overcame any reservations which might have existed. It stars the effortlessly elegant and charming Ronald Colman, playing a diplomat who leads a group of refugees out of a war torn China and into a Himalayan kingdom of seeming peace and enlightenment. Colman's diplomat must make a choice between staying in Shangri-la with his new found love (the ethereal Jane Wyatt) or returning to so-called civilisation, and this conflict gives the film its dramatic "heart".
It's very much a product of its time, with highly stylised sets and plenty of naive sentiments, but it also possesses a timeless, surreal beauty and quality which transcends the mere run-of-the-mill. Happily this "Golden Age" classic will now entrance and delight not just this generation, but those to come too.
Unless you're an absolute glutton for punishment, do not under any circumstances confuse the original Capra-Colman version with 1972's disastrous, unwatchable "musical" remake.
I was impressed by the book and later by the film. Naturally, the book is a trifle better if not better; as books usually are. However, the film, being of typical 1930s fare, and of Frank Capra's, was most enjoyable. I saw the film many years ago and found myself impressed. Many years later, as an old codger, it moves me all the more, though it is a film about Utopia a dream.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a superb book, this film is a travesty. Although some scenes are good and give atmosphere the introduction of Hollywood characters and scenes are simply annoying and detract... Read morePublished 9 days ago by M. Mccrindle
a classic fantasy film highly recommend, a lot better that a lot of the modern effects ladend films we seem to get nowadays. Read morePublished 1 month ago by colin parkin
A better world imagined.....a healthy antidote to films that reinforce what is , showing a world of violence and greed when there are so much better themes to focus on..... Read morePublished 2 months ago by TM
A really good film based on one of my favorite novels. I suppose with the busy lives we tend to lead it is wonderful to dream of a place like this. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John