Monday, August 15, 2011

Adventure film 7: Lost Horizon (1937)

"Let's hope we all find our Shangri-La" ... so goes the closing thought of Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937) – a beautifully shot adaptation of James Hilton's 1933 lost world novel starring Ronald Coleman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard, H. B. Warner, Edward Everett Horton and Thomas Mitchell. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (25.7 MB, 1 hour 10 mins).

Recorded Saturday 13 August 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.

Notes & Errata: The composer whose music is played on the ship and who Conway met a student of is Chopin (I said I thought it began with an 'o', recalling the dominant sound, I suppose). The book 'Stones of Enchantment' by Wyndham Martyn was published in 1948.

Purchase the DVD from Amazon UK: Lost Horizon (1937).


  1. Thanks, Garen and Murray for an enjoyable program. I've seen the film several times over the years, so very good to hear your thoughts on it.

    I really don't know much about the creation of this film, so I learned somethings about the film I didn't know.

    I should read the book. Always interesting why they change characters for films, to fit a movie audience. So thanks for sharing that.

    Hard to believe there are only three left.
    Really appreciate you both doing taking the time to do these!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Linda. Why they changed the characters would have been a good discussion point and though sometimes book to film changes are a mystery, I think there's some logic behind those in Capra's Lost Horizon.

    Lovett was added for some light relief, most of which comes from him bouncing off Barnard. Turning Mallinson into Robert Conway's brother, George, gave them an inherent attachment which made Robert's motivation for leaving Shangri-La all the stronger. Gloria added some glamour to the party and also lessened the risk of any views at the expense of Christianity alone, had the female plane passenger been an old missionary as in the novel. Possibly.

  3. Yes, that would make a good discussion.

    I don't know if you seen this, but you were talking about the length of the film. I found this interview with Frank Capra, where he talks about the test previews of the film and explains what happen to at least two reels of the film. (I didn't know this.)

    Here's the link to anyone interested: (Frank Capra interview with Dick Cavett)