Saturday, March 10, 2012

“There are moments in every man’s life when he glimpses the eternal…”


In the past, I’ve had many a spirited argument with fellow movie buffs about the film that is celebrating its 75th anniversary today—Frank Capra’s adaptation of James Hilton’s classic novel Lost Horizon (1937).  A few detractors don’t care for it at all, calling it “boring” and all sorts of other silly adjectives…but I’m a huge, huge fan.  I remember the first time I watched the movie; I got to rent it (for free, baby!) as one of the perks of working as a lowly CSR at Ball Blockbuster Video back in the late 1980s, and I revisit it every now and then to find that it’s still a marvelous movie experience.  There are cracks in the production, to be sure (the Asian characters do not come off at all well, seeming blissfully content to wait on a civilization consisting of nothing but white folks) but no matter how cynical I become as I get older, there’s still a teensy bit of an idealist in me that would fill out change-of-address forms should I ever find myself in a place like Shangri-La.  (What’s more, Lost Horizon is my favorite Ronald Colman film.  Yes, I know I’ve said in the past that it’s The Talk of the Town, but that was last week.)

Despite looming deadlines ready to step on me like a bug, I was able to complete an essay on the movie at our pal Edward Copeland on Film…and More, so while you’re waiting for the next thrilling chapter of Jungle Queen to get posted, you are more than welcome to mosey on over and check it out, if you so desire.  In the meantime, I swear I will have the adventures of Bob and Chuck and Pamela and Lothel up as soon as I can (though this may stretch our normal Saturday matinee into the evening hours).

3 comments:

KimWilson said...

I think what a lot of people don't like about Lost Horizon is that parts of it are, well, lost. People don't like it when they are watching a film and then stills appear with sound--it is disconcerting. I do like the film, but I could understand if some found this little quirk to be a problem.

Scott said...

When I first visited Ojai, I discovered that it's an article of faith amongst the residents that the Ojai Valley posed for the panoramic shots of Shangri-La. In fact, I was taken to a spot which overlooked a still-rustic view, and told in no uncertain terms that this is where the camera was.

I've never heard any confirmation of that claim form an authoritative source, although it makes sense. In those pre-freeway days, the Ojai Valley would have been about a 2-3 hour drive due north from Gower Gulch.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I've never heard any confirmation of that claim form an authoritative source

The Wikipedia entry does mention location shooting at Ojai, but then you did say "authoritative source" so I don't know why I brought that up...

I think what a lot of people don't like about Lost Horizon is that parts of it are, well, lost. People don't like it when they are watching a film and then stills appear with sound--it is disconcerting.

I won't disagree with this, but I'll only say that I had the complete opposite reaction when I first watched the movie...I think putting together a film to recreate its original version is commendable, even if short cuts have to be taken. (This might be explained by my lifelong obsession with film, but the jury is still out on this. '-) )