Lost Horizon (1937)
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"I believe it, because I want to believe it.
Here's my hope...
...that we all find our Shangri-La."
An extremely unique and captivating film. Highly recommended.
Frank Capra has always been a utopian film maker, but with Lost Horizon, he takes that in a more literal direction as his characters (some pulled from the James Hilton novel, some new) are brought to Shangri-La, a virtual paradise in the Himalayas, against their will. There's a lot to recommend in the film, but it's mostly in terms of visuals. The opening escape from revolution-torn China is exciting, and the alpine photography breathtaking. But I found myself asking too many questions to really get invested. How does Shangri-La get all its stuff from the outside? Why make it a Christian utopia nevertheless filled with Tibetan monks? Why does it seem to be a leisure paradise for white folks who somehow found their way there, but the Asian natives appear to be part of a working class? And what about all those hints at something darker? And I was irritated with the broad comic relief of Edward Everett Horton as the least convincing Brit ever. I don't mean to sound so negative, as it was still interesting, but also preachy at times. I like Capra more when he wraps his utopian fable in every day Americana. Lost Horison is too overt and things get lost in its attempt at scope.
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In 7 official lists
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This movie ranks #80 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #103 in Butler's Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #304 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #497 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #498 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #733 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #904 in Doubling the Canon