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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?

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Robert Riskin (screenplay), James Hilton (novel)
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Lost Horizon (1973)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ronald Colman ... Robert Conway
Jane Wyatt ... Sondra
Edward Everett Horton ... Lovett
John Howard ... George Conway
Thomas Mitchell ... Barnard
Margo ... Maria
Isabel Jewell ... Gloria
H.B. Warner ... Chang
Sam Jaffe ... High Lama
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mightiest of all motion pictures! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

1 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lost Horizon of Shangri-La See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1952 reissue) | (general release) | (restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Capra's first cut of the film ran for 6 hours. The first public preview took place in Santa Barbara when the film ran for 3 1/2 hours. Re-shooting and re-cutting followed immediately after this disastrous preview. See more »

Goofs

When Lovett and Henry debate directions, Lovett has the box in front of him, and in the next cut his coat and arms are on top of the box. 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, ...
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

Some of the music in the restored version is dubbed into different sections than the ones in the 118 minute cut version. For example, the moment in which Robert Conway ('Ronald Colman') discovers that the High Lama is really Father Perrault i accompanied by soft music in the cut version, while in the restored version this moment is played with no music. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Ultimate Film (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Wiegenlied (Brahms' Lullaby), Op. 49, No. 4
(1868) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Johannes Brahms
English translator unknown
Sung a cappella by children at Shangri-La
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
`Lost Horizon' is indeed a remnant from the golden age of cinema.
22 May 2003 | by ilovedolbySee all my reviews

There is an aura that seems to surround classic films made before the days of computer generated visual effects and intense marketing campaigns. It was a time when motion pictures depended on grand stories, superb performances, and great direction to catapult their success. This was exactly the case of `Lost Horizon,' a film from director Frank Copra (`It's A Wonderful Life'). With elaborate set designs, excellent performances by Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard, Thomas Mitchell, and Edward Everett Horton, `Lost Horizon' is a story of survival and ultimately finding a way home, that cannot be forgotten. `Lost Horizon' is a tale of five castaways who inadvertently find themselves in Shangri-La after their plane crashes in the mountains of Tibet. They are lead into the place of eternal youth, natural beauty, and free from strife by members of the region. They are treated as guests, and although they want to leave and find their way back to the world as they know it, porters are hard to find. It all leads to a notion that none of them want to admit; that they were meant to be in Shangri-La. Out of the thousands of movies that have been produced in the past 100 years, only a few afford of the privilege of remembrance. What's more, only a few seem to survive due to the nature of celluloid prints breaking down over time. A similar problem plagued `Lost Horizon,' in that after decades of worthy theatrical re-issues, the prints depreciated, with many withering away. As such, a preservation program was set in place to save copies of the film. Thanks to the works of countless individuals, this classic has been restored, to a certain degree, with some of the footage missing, replaced by still shots of the actors and recorded dialogue. From a critical standpoint, `Lost Horizon' has stood the test of time to be one of the greatest adventure classics ever produced by Hollywood. What is astonishing about this film is the attention to detail. As the film begins, a battle is taking place somewhere in China where we meet our protagonist, Bob Conway (Coleman). As the film continues, the scene changes to a scene on an airplane where our characters are trying to leave the war torn region. At one point, the crew is at a high altitude where the temperature is very cold. As such, we can see their breath in the shot as they speak. Normally, this kind of feature is ignored as the scene is short, but it adds a touch of realism that can't be denied. Incredible detail went into the creation of Shangri-La. With its large sets, beautiful costume design, the film takes on an epic proportion only rivaled by the grand designs of such Biblical epics as `Ben-Hur,' and `The Ten Commandments.' Truly, director Capra wanted to create an image that audiences would be astounded by…and he truly succeeded.

One can't help but admire the characters-they are all a bit naïve, but all intriguing in their own ways. Conway (Coleman) is a British diplomat and explorer whose fame is well deserved. His brother, George (Howard) presents a great deal of fear for the unknown Shangri-La. The characters of Henry Barnard (Mitchell) and Alexander P. Lovett (Horton) add a real sense of humor to the film. There are some minor inconsistencies in the story and various tasks that the characters try to pull off, but it's hardly worth complaining about because the film is such a treasure among other films. After 66 years, `Lost Horizon' remains far better than most of the adventure films that play in cinemas nowadays. One can only wish that they could have been present to see this in a theater during its original run. How amazing it would have been to see this epic tale of survival and the human struggle against itself back in 1937. `Lost Horizon' is indeed a remnant from the golden age of cinema. ***1/2


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