Lost Horizon

  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Robert Riskin, Based on the novel by James Hilton
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
  • Actors: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard

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 is replaced and their airplane is hijacked. It eventually runs out of fuel and crashes deep in the Himalayas, and their abductor is killed. 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 their new home, 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.

Conway continues on and eventually meets up with a search party sent to find him, although the ordeal has caused him to lose his memory of Shangri-la. On the voyage back to England, he remembers everything; he tells his story and then jumps ship. The searchers track him back to the Himalayas, but are unable to follow him any further and Conway returns to Shangri-la.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *