Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lost Horizon

I finally saw Frank Capra's Lost Horizon. In general, Frank Capra movies don't interest me. I've never even seen It's a Wonderful Life. However this is a great story about a plane of westerners who escape from war-torn China and crash in the mountains near Tibet only to be rescued by the inhabitants of an unknown utopia called Shangri-La. Soon the question is raised as to whether the incident was fate, happenstance, or a master scheme orchestrated by a brainwashing spiritualist know as the High Llama. The movie was released in 1937 and was the most expensive film of it's time. Some of the action sequences come off a bit dated but the story is full of ideas and questions about life, happiness, and destiny. Also the dialogue is very strong.

The film has an interesting history as well. It was altered during world war II in order to tone down it's pacifist message and was injected with a healthy dose of anti Japanese propaganda. Much of the film deterioated over time until the mid seventies when AFI began to conduct a world-wide search for any original negatives. The first thing found was an entire soundtrack. From that, the version that exists today on DVD has been patched together out of different reels and digitally restored to it's original Frank-Capra-intended version. However, there are still 7 minutes of film that were never accounted for. In order to be faithfull to the original cut, these scenes have been replaced by production stills with the dialogue running underneath. It's a great watch and a pretty epic movie for it's time.


Blogger Brandon said...

Sounds really cool. I haven't seen enough Capra yet, so far only It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life (which you NEED to see, Drew. Sure, you probably feel like you've seen it already with clips of it being shown everywhere, and it's ubiquitous holiday tv showings, but it needs to be seen in it's entirety. It's one of my top 5 films of all time.)

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not interested in Frank Capra?! Mr smith, wonderful life and it happened one night are a few of the best movies ever made! I think lost horizon is one of his weaker movies. Arsenic and old lace is kind of fun and you can't take it with you is pretty good but the above mentioned are the best. Whenever I think of directing a romanctic seen I think of Capra. He sets the mood nicely and uses this soft focus that changes the whole mood of the scene, it is really neat.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Ditto on It's a wonderful life. one of my all-time favorites.

4:59 PM  

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