7.8/10
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Lost Horizon (1937)

A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La -- but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be?

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Storyline

British diplomat Robert Conway 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. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

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Mightiest of all motion pictures! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lost Horizon of Shangri-La  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (TV) | (general release) | (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Designing the numerous elaborate sets took over a year. See more »

Goofs

When Conway is stumbling down the mountain and approaching the native village, his hair and clothing don't match in closeup and distant shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Book Pages: In these days of wars and rumors of wars - haven't you ever dreamed of a place where there was peace and security, where living was not a struggle but a lasting delight? / Of course you have. So has every man since time began. Always the same dream. Sometimes he calls it Utopia - Sometimes the Fountain of Youth - Sometimes merely "that little chicken farm." / One man had such a dream and saw it come true. He was Robert Conway - England's "Man of the East" - soldier, diplomat, ...
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Crazy Credits

Bob Gitt of the UCLA Film & Television Archives claims the original opening sequence in 1937 had title cards "Conway has been sent to evacuate ninety white people before they're butchered in a local revolution" was changed in 1942 for a special reissue during WWII. The title cards read "before innocent Chinese people were butchered by Japanese hordes." This was to bolster propaganda against the Japanese. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Here We Go Gathering Nuts in May
(uncredited)
Traditional children's song
Sung a cappella by Edward Everett Horton
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another Capra gem
16 January 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is not another of Frank Capra's sophisticated, stylish comedies of the era. That might explain the reason that "Lost Horizon" takes a back seat today to "It Happened One Night" and "Mr Deeds Goes to Town", the immensely critically acclaimed comedies of the time. With the theme of the small man triumphing over the big, good over evil, perhaps here Capra was trying to explain idealism over humanity. He believed in the book. In his own words, "It held a mirror up to the thoughts of every human being on earth".

Ronald Colman is perfect in his role of Robert, an English diplomat and a leader of the people. Edward Everett Horton was again great in a seemingly bubbling, comic role and Sam Jaffe, later the professor in "The Day the Earth Stood Still" gives a memorable performance as the High Lama, establisher of Shangri-La, the perfect world high above in the Himalayas.

Some of the cinematography was absolutely amazing. It was a shame that the film was cut to the extent that footage was lost and stills had to be used in the missing sound track places. The imagery that Capra stirs up for the viewer has certainly fulfilled his vision. The film is a bit long in some parts, but it certainly does not fail to entertain, it merely takes its time to tell a great story.

Is there another film from the period that sums up the great human ideal, a perfect world, a better one than the one we already exist in? "Lost Horizon" with its ideals is the film for the thinking person. It thrives on its themes for humanity, of kindness and moderation, stripping away the pretense of our lives. The message is as clear as anything, but maybe we all don't want to realise it, or perhaps we can't.

I hope that this movie is never remade for a third time. It is a story that could only be preserved in its own time, for this version has the message that still rings clear today, unspoilt, endearing, so simple. Hollywood will never again be able to recapture what has been already crafted. Capra's neglected movie could scarcely have been more effectively filmed.

Rating: 10/10


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