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Lost Horizon

4.6 out of 5 stars 405 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt star in this lavishly-produced classic about the enchanted paradise ofShangri-La where time stands still. After nearly 50 years, Frank Capra's timeless masterpiece, LOSTHORIZON (based on the best-selling novel by James Hilton) was restored to its original length of 132 minutes in 1986. The film, which was widely circulated among the armed services during World War II, was cut 22 minutes after its initial release in 1937 to reflect the wartime perception of the Chinese and to tone down the film's pacifism. Film historian Robert Gitt conducted nearly 13 years of detective work tracking down the lost footage. With extraordinary art direction, the set of Shangri-La is considered the largest ever built in Hollywood, winning designer Stephan Goosson an Academy Award(r) (LOST HORIZON won two 1937 Academy Awards(r): Art Direction-Set Design and Film Editing). Furthermore, the budget for the picture was staggering and cost almost four times the amount of any Columbi

Additional Features

It seems almost inconceivable that a film as great as Lost Horizon would be nearly lost to the ravages of age and studio neglect. Fortunately, Columbia has compensated for past misdeeds with this superlative DVD release, which restores Capra's classic to near-complete form and provides a thorough--and thoroughly fascinating--account of the film's production and eventual restoration. Of particular interest to film buffs will be the engaging photo essay and accompanying narration by film historian Kendall Miller, whose affectionate (and infectious) obsession with Lost Horizon is expressed here for the benefit of posterity. Equally engrossing is the full-length restoration commentary by UCLA film preservation expert Robert Gitt, whose efforts to restore this film were nothing less than heroic. Unfortunately, Gitt is teamed in the commentary with retired Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin, whose contribution is amiable but superfluous. That quibble aside, this edition of Lost Horizon is one of the most rewarding DVDs of any classic Hollywood film. Although several of Frank Capra's other films have achieved a higher profile, Lost Horizon just gets better as the years go by, and with its wealth of supplemental features, this DVD is a definitive archival tribute. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Alternate Ending With Narration
  • Photo Documentary with Narration by Historian Kendall Miller
  • Restoration: Before & After Comparison (3 Deleted "Never-seen-before" Scenes, with commentary)

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Everett Horton, John Howard, Sam Jaffe, Jane Wyatt, Margo
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 1999
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (405 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305416222
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,939 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lost Horizon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven W. Hill on December 21, 1999
Format: DVD
LOST HORIZON is a very special and very philosophical movie based on the James Hilton novel. The movie makes a few changes from the book, but in many ways the film actually improves on the novel, not the least of which is having the great Ronald Colman flesh out the part of Robert Conway. It's not Colman's most memorable performance (see TALE OF TWO CITIES for that) but he wears the part like a comfortable suit. Supporting him are some other great players like Edward Everett Horton, Thomas Mitchell, Sam Jaffe and Isabel Jewell to name a few. What would YOUR reaction be when you discover that the commandeered airplane that took you to a mysterious, beautiful land in the middle of the wintry Himalayas was not an accident, but a plan? The lost world of Shangri-La is something different to everyone, and it's not always a land of bliss and happiness as you'll see. The film itself has gone through many difficult years, and the painstaking reconstruction (sometimes down to still frames with audio) receives a fine presentation on DVD. It's the restoration and the extras that make the disc worth viewing. A brief section shows how some frames were restored, and we get to see some rare pristine footage of the funeral procession. A good feature commentary and documentary are also included. Overall, then, it's a fine film and a fine DVD supplying fine extras. What's not fine? Well, it's only fair to comment on the extremely variable quality of the image (as I said, it's a combination of several decent prints, some 16mm prints and the occasional still-frame section). That's not the fault of Columbia, as it is most likely the best they could do. But upon comparison to my VHS tape of the restored film, I was surprised to see that the quality is only *slightly* better, not dramatically better.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I have loved this film and the James Hilton novel upon which it is based since I was a child. "Lost Horizon" is one of the truly great moviegoing experiences. I think we all want to believe in Shangri-La, a paradise which brings out the best in mortals, offering a chance of redemption.
The film has a great cast: Ronald Colman (what a voice!), lovely Jane Wyatt, Thomas Mitchell, H.B. Warner, Edward Everett Horton, Sam Jaffe and the almost forgotten (but very good) Isabel Jewell - she also appeared with Colman in "A Tale of Two Cities."
The set design has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Shangri-La is a prime example of Art Deco at it's most beautiful.
The film, as it exists today, is a bit like Frankenstein's monster, stitched together from a wide variety of sources, some of them in better condition than others. The story of the quarter-century restoration of the film is a fascinating example of the dedication to see a project through to it's completion.
The only complaint I have about the film, and it's a minor one, is about the number of expository sequences in the film. It seems that one character or another is always talking about what has gone on or what is going on. H.B. Warner's character, in particular, seems to exist for the most part to explain the backstory of Shangri-La. But that's, as I said, a minor complaint. This is a superb motion picture.
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Format: DVD
Frank Capra's LOST HORIZON is finally given its due on DVD. This is the most complete version of this great film available. The source material varies from excellent to barely watchable, but at least it is complete. Some sections are represented with still frames as the footage still remains missing. This is quite frustrating as the movie was photographed so beautifully, but Columbia Pictures did very little to keep the negatives complete and in good condition. So we should be thankful LOST HORIZON looks as good as it does. The cast, with the exception of John Howard (David Niven should have played Howard's part) is flawless. Ronald Colman was one of Hollywood's greatest actors. One never tires from watching and "listening" to his performance. This great DVD includes an insightful commentary shared by Charles Champlin and Kendall Miller who discuss the making of the movie along with its arduous restoration. A good 30 minute documentary covers the making of the movie (some aspects are duplicated from the commentary track). Also included are some deleted sequences, a still file with Kendall's narration and a teaser trailer. It would have been wonderful if Dimitri Tiomken's great score could have been isolated, but this may not have been possible given the quality of the source material. Get LOST HORIZON on DVD, you won't be disappointed. It is definetly a classic worth keeping.
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Format: DVD
One of my favorite books growing up was James Hilton's classic 1933 book, "Lost Horizon", and I believe it motivated a great deal of my current wanderlust. Even though I have had the misfortune of seeing the disastrous 1973 musical remake when I was young, the original 1937 film adaptation has been a film I have wanted to see for years, but for whatever reason, it was next to impossible to uncover. Apparently, bastardized versions have shown up on TV through the years. Now we are fortunate to have this 1999 restoration spearheaded by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt to match as closely as possible to Frank Capra's original 132-minute running time.

Similar to what was done with George Cukor's "A Star Is Born", "Lost Horizon" is presented with its complete soundtrack, but missing footage had to be found through other sources, even 16-mm prints recorded from TV broadcasts, and in a few scenes, production stills were sadly the only option to fill in the gaps. Consequently, there is a variable quality to the print, but when one thinks that much of this footage could have been completely lost, the visual lapses are more than forgivable. Now that I have seen Capra's vision of the book, I can now understand why it's a cinematic classic though I have to concede not as timeless as one would hope.

The fanciful plot centers on Robert Conway, a top-level English diplomat about to become the Foreign Secretary, who helps refugees and assorted others from war-ravaged China. A motley crew of passengers led by Conway boards a plane that is skyjacked toward the Himalayas where it crash lands in a desolate spot of Tibet. They are eventually met by a sect of locals who takes them to a paradise called Shangri-La.
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