Lost Horizon (1937 film)

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Lost Horizon is a 1937 American drama-fantasy film directed by Frank Capra. The screenplay by Robert Riskin is based on the 1933 novel of the same title by James Hilton.

The film exceeded its original budget by more than $776,000, and it took five years for it to earn back its cost. The serious financial crisis it created for Columbia Pictures damaged the partnership between Capra and studio head Harry Cohn, as well as the friendship between Capra and screenwriter Riskin, whose previous collaborations had included Lady for a Day, It Happened One Night, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.[1]

Contents

Plot

Before returning to England to become the new Foreign Secretary, writer, soldier, and diplomat Robert Conway has one last task in 1935 China: to rescue 90 Westerners in the city of Baskul. He flies out with the last few evacuees, just ahead of armed revolutionaries.

Unbeknownst to the passengers, the pilot has been replaced and their airplane is hijacked. It eventually runs out of fuel and crashes deep in the Himalayan Mountains, killing their abductor. The group is rescued by Chang and his men and taken to Shangri-La, an idyllic valley sheltered from the bitter cold. The contented inhabitants are led by the mysterious High Lama.

Initially anxious to return to civilization, most of the newcomers grow to love Shangri-La, including paleontologist Alexander Lovett, swindler Henry Barnard, and bitter, terminally ill Gloria Stone, who miraculously seems to be recovering. Conway is particularly enchanted, especially when he meets Sondra, who has grown up in Shangri-La. However, Conway's younger brother George, and Maria, another beautiful young woman they find there, are determined to leave.

Conway eventually has an audience with the High Lama and learns that his arrival was no accident. The founder of Shangri-La is said to be hundreds of years old, preserved, like the other residents, by the magical properties of the paradise he has created, but is finally dying and needs someone wise and knowledgeable in the ways of the modern world to keep it safe. Having read Conway's writings, Sondra believed he was the one, and the Lama agreed with her. The old man names Conway as his successor and then peacefully passes away.

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