HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Last Holiday
Zombieland: Double Tap
   
 
Newest Articles
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
   
 
  Lost Horizon O'er The Hills And Far Away
Year: 1937
Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton, John Howard, Thomas Mitchell, Margo, Isabel Jewell, H.B. Warner, Sam Jaffe, Noble Johnson
Genre: Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) is a British diplomat in China, and there is a revolution occuring in the area where he has been working. In a night of turmoil, Conway is trying to secure an escape route for the ninety-or-so westerners still there, and the only way out is by aeroplane, so he barges his way through the crowds to get them into the aircraft that have arrived there to save them. Then the lights go out, foiling any planes which wanted to land, so Conway has to set light to a nearby hangar to give them bearings; eventually the whites are saved and Conway and a small party board the last plane. But the pilot has been replaced...

Lost Horizon was all set to be one of the biggest disasters of its day, a hugely expensive fantasy epic brought to the screen by Frank Capra, riding high after his massive success with It Happened One Night. The preview screenings of the initial three-and-a-half hour cut had gone down badly, with the audience laughing at its would-be mysticism, and Capra's heart sank, but he was not to be beaten down and re-edited it down to a more manageable couple of hours, and that's the version that was distributed - the excised footage is, as far as we know, lost forever. It took a while, but thanks to many re-releases this became one of the filmmaker's most successful works.

Does it stand up today, however? For many, its vision of Utopia is too much to bear, and they are likely to reject it as unworkable, and it's true after the thrills of the first half hour the excitement levels drop precipitously. During that opening quarter, Conway and the party of escapees, which includes his hot-headed brother George (John Howard), realise that the plane they are travelling on is not going where they thought it was going, and is in fact heading towards the mountains of Tibet. Some of them panic, but Conway calms them by pointing out they cannot do anything to stop the pilot as none of them can fly.

All very exciting as the kidnapped party eventually crash into the side of a mountain and with the pilot dead they are stranded, with little hope of surviving the harsh climate. And then, a miracle: a group of natives appear through the blizzard and greet them, offering shelter and food, not something they can afford to turn down. What this turns out to be is a gateway to that Utopia, as the stranded party are led into the valley of Shangri-La, a paradise enclosed from the world outside by walls of rock on every side. Their guide, Chang (H.B. Warner), makes it clear that this is a place of great serenity, entirely self-sufficient, with no conflict, no need for fighting, no call for greed or selfishness: everything the thirties audience could hope for in those days of "wars and rumours of wars".

Of course, Conway as played by the eminently civilised Colman at his most agreeable and intelligent fits right in here, a location where his dreams of the perfect world have come true. He meets the High Lama (Sam Jaffe in some remarkable old age makeup) who assures him that he is at home here, informs him that the inhabitants live on for centuries, and admits that Conway was brought here by them to take over from the Lama, who is nearing the end of his life and needs a successor. What this actually means is acres of high falutin' talk interspersed with the party having a fine old time, not the most dramatic of plots after the tension of what led up to it. There is one character who cannot stand the idea of living in peace forever, and he is George, who is determined to leave, the only part that should give the narrative a shot in the arm but instead leaves you thinking that he should really have chilled a lot more. However you may agree that heaven on Earth would be boring, it's Conway's side you're on, and that is more to do with Colman's dignified authority than any quality inherent in a one-time classic whose shine has dimmed. Music by Dmitri Tiomkin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2431 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: