Lost Horizon (1973)

G | 150-151 or 154 mins | Drama, Musical | March 1973

Director:

Charles Jarrott

Writer:

Larry Kramer

Producer:

Ross Hunter

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Editor:

Maury Winetrobe

Production Designer:

Preston Ames

Production Company:

Ross Hunter Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to Filmfacts , the picture was shot in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California. Studio production notes specify that Mt. Hood in Oregon was used to simulate the Tibet mountains. A commemorative book about the film reported that some of the snow sequences were shot on location in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. It also reported that the evacuation sequence was shot in Tucson, AZ, the refueling sequence in Victorville, CA and that closeups of the trek to Shangri-La were shot at Bronson Canyon in Los Angeles, with simulated snow. For a cost of $500,000 the lamasery set was built on four acres of the backlot of The Burbank Studios, which, according to Filmfacts , had previously been used as King Arthur's court in the 1967 production Camelot (See Entry). The commemorative book stated that the Twentieth Century-Fox ranch in Malibu, CA was leased for the Valley of the Blue Moon scenes.
       The film's credited director, Charles Jarrott, was the third director to be involved with the production. According to a Jul 2000 Village Voice article, Carol Reed was originally set to direct and, because of Reed's involvement, Larry Kramer agreed to write the screenplay. However, the article reported that Reed backed out of the film and was replaced by Franklin Schaffner. Exactly when Schaffner exited the project has not been determined, but HR production charts only list Jarrott as director. Although the Village Voice reported that Kramer quit midway into the project, he is credited onscreen and in HR production charts as writer. Filmfacts ... More Less

According to Filmfacts , the picture was shot in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California. Studio production notes specify that Mt. Hood in Oregon was used to simulate the Tibet mountains. A commemorative book about the film reported that some of the snow sequences were shot on location in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. It also reported that the evacuation sequence was shot in Tucson, AZ, the refueling sequence in Victorville, CA and that closeups of the trek to Shangri-La were shot at Bronson Canyon in Los Angeles, with simulated snow. For a cost of $500,000 the lamasery set was built on four acres of the backlot of The Burbank Studios, which, according to Filmfacts , had previously been used as King Arthur's court in the 1967 production Camelot (See Entry). The commemorative book stated that the Twentieth Century-Fox ranch in Malibu, CA was leased for the Valley of the Blue Moon scenes.
       The film's credited director, Charles Jarrott, was the third director to be involved with the production. According to a Jul 2000 Village Voice article, Carol Reed was originally set to direct and, because of Reed's involvement, Larry Kramer agreed to write the screenplay. However, the article reported that Reed backed out of the film and was replaced by Franklin Schaffner. Exactly when Schaffner exited the project has not been determined, but HR production charts only list Jarrott as director. Although the Village Voice reported that Kramer quit midway into the project, he is credited onscreen and in HR production charts as writer. Filmfacts reported that many of the cast members did their own singing in the movie, but Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann and Olivia Hussey ("Richard," "Catherine" and "Maria," respectively) were dubbed. Modern sources add Bruce Bayne, Jackie Tom, Jessie Salve, Michael Bernal and Sharann Hisamoto to the cast.
       According to a studio press release dated 7 Mar 1973, the film was screened on 6 Mar 1973 as part of a charity event to benefit the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital, before opening as an exclusive engagement on 7 Mar. Filmfacts reported that shortly after the film's release, a dance in the festival sequence and the song "I Come to You" sung by Richard and Catherine, were cut from the film. However, both pieces were restored in the viewed print. According to a 27 Nov 1961 news item, Frank Capra considered producing a version of the story, planning for Laurence Olivier to portray the role of "Conway," but that project never reached fruition. For other productions based on Hilton's novel, see the entry for the 1937 Columbia film Lost Horizon , which was directed by Frank Capra and starred Ronald Colman. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 1973
p. 406-413, 450-453, 466-469.
Box Office
19 Mar 1973
p. 4574.
Filmfacts
1973
pp. 119-23.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 1961.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1972
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1972
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1973
p. 3, 22.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
8 Mar 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Mar 1973
View, p. 1, 8.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Mar 1973.
---
New York Times
15 Mar 1973
p. 58.
New York Times
18 Mar 1973
Section II, p. 1.
New York Times
30 Dec 1973
Section II, p. 1.
Time
2 Apr 1973.
---
Variety
7 Mar 1973
p. 18.
Village Voice
25 Jul 2000
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
2d unit asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
2d unit cam
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Orig score cond
Orch arr
Orch arr
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photo eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Casting supv
Casting supv
Pub supv
Unit pub
Unit pub
Unit pub
Climbing seqs supv
Aerial seq
Asst to Mr. Pan
Asst to Mr. Pan
STAND INS
Singing voice for Peter Finch
Singing voice for Liv Ullmann
Singing voice for Olivia Hussey
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton (New York, 1933).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Lost Horizon," music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, sung by Shawn Phillips
"Share the Joy," "The World Is a Circle," "Living Together, Growing Together," "I Might Frighten Her Away," "The Things I Will Not Miss," "If I Could Go Back," "Where Knowledge Ends (Faith Begins)," "Reflections," "Question Me an Answer," and "I Come to You," music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1973
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 7 March 1973
New York opening: 14 March 1973
Production Date:
mid April--mid August 1972
Copyright Claimant:
Ross Hunter Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 March 1973
Copyright Number:
LP41851
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
150-151 or 154
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Southern Asia during a United Nations peace mission, a revolution breaks out, forcing British diplomat Richard Conway to evacuate his countrymen, as well as some American citizens, via the Baskula airport. As the guerrillas draw near, several planes are commandeered to rescue the Westerners. After most of the refugees are safe, Richard boards the last plane, a DC-3, that has been ordered to fly to Hong Kong. His companions on the flight include his brother George, an ambitious reporter covering the peace negotiations for the London Express ; Sally Hughes, a disillusioned photojournalist working for Newsweek ; Sam Cornelius, an engineer and businessman who is mysteriously reticent about his work; and Harry Lovett, a comedian inadvertently separated from his United Service Organization troupe. Before they take off, unknown to the group, a burly Asian man renders the pilot unconscious and takes his place in the cockpit. The passengers do not realize they have been hijacked until the position of the morning sun indicates they are flying in the wrong direction. After a refueling stop in an isolated desert area served by armed men, the plane resumes its course, flying high into the mountains. Suddenly, the plane malfunctions and during the crash landing in a desolate mountainous region, the pilot is killed. Incommunicado and in the midst of a storm, the passengers make due with emergency provisions. To their relief, a procession treks down the mountain, led by Oxford-educated Chang, who offers to take them to their lamasery. Chang leads the Westerners up the mountain and over bridges spanning deep crevices, until they reach a mountain pass ... +


In Southern Asia during a United Nations peace mission, a revolution breaks out, forcing British diplomat Richard Conway to evacuate his countrymen, as well as some American citizens, via the Baskula airport. As the guerrillas draw near, several planes are commandeered to rescue the Westerners. After most of the refugees are safe, Richard boards the last plane, a DC-3, that has been ordered to fly to Hong Kong. His companions on the flight include his brother George, an ambitious reporter covering the peace negotiations for the London Express ; Sally Hughes, a disillusioned photojournalist working for Newsweek ; Sam Cornelius, an engineer and businessman who is mysteriously reticent about his work; and Harry Lovett, a comedian inadvertently separated from his United Service Organization troupe. Before they take off, unknown to the group, a burly Asian man renders the pilot unconscious and takes his place in the cockpit. The passengers do not realize they have been hijacked until the position of the morning sun indicates they are flying in the wrong direction. After a refueling stop in an isolated desert area served by armed men, the plane resumes its course, flying high into the mountains. Suddenly, the plane malfunctions and during the crash landing in a desolate mountainous region, the pilot is killed. Incommunicado and in the midst of a storm, the passengers make due with emergency provisions. To their relief, a procession treks down the mountain, led by Oxford-educated Chang, who offers to take them to their lamasery. Chang leads the Westerners up the mountain and over bridges spanning deep crevices, until they reach a mountain pass that marks a cave. Through the cave is the entrance to Shangri-La, a community nestled in the Valley of the Blue Moon. In the serene paradise, a strange climate phenomenon created by the mountains keeps the area sunny and mild. After introducing them to Brother To-Lenn, Chang reports alone to a mysterious old man to inform him that Richard has arrived as planned. Later at dinner, Chang explains to the group that the mountains protecting Shangri-La also block communication and that their only connection to the outside world is through porters who visit irregularly every few years. Richard immediately feels at ease in this place, but the others are burdened with the troubles of their former lives. Sally, who is tormented by the images of war and inhumanity she has photographed, considers suicide, but is interrupted by the timely intervention of Chang and To-Lenn. Although Harry is aware of the superficiality of his life, he looks forward to resuming it, but Sam, who is unhappy yet less eager to leave, points out that getting back from such a remote place will not be easy or safe. George is the most restless, despite his romance with Maria, a youthful looking woman who resides there. The Westerners soon learn that the community values knowledge and art. Chang shows special interest in Richard, explaining that the philosophy governing Shangri-La is that of moderation, and that mutual courtesy creates harmony. Due to their healthful lifestyles and nurturing surroundings, he asserts, the inhabitants are long-lived and never sick. As days go by, all except for George become increasingly content. As To-Lenn listens patiently, Sally unburdens her thoughts and begins to feel happiness. She befriends Sam, who confides that he was involved in a major corporate scandal years ago and took refuge in an anonymous life in Baskula. When Sam discovers gold in Shangri-La, his first thoughts are how to enrich himself, but then he notices how the women must carry their water in buckets and devotes himself to engineering an irrigation system to lighten their load. Richard falls in love with schoolteacher Catherine, and his feelings are reciprocated. When asked to take over Catherine’s class for a day, Harry discovers a hidden talent for teaching and later asks Chang if he may start a drama class. Only George is anxious to leave, and his agitation causes Maria to feel restless, despite Sally’s assurances that life is better in Shangri-La. When Richard begins to suspect their arrival was not accidental, Chang takes him to meet the elderly High Lama, who reveals he is actually the Belgian priest who founded the order in Shangri-La in 1747 and has lived over two hundred years due to the life-giving surroundings. Predicting that civilization is heading toward self-destruction, the elder has arranged for the lamasery to preserve humanity’s intellectual treasures, in the hope that Shangri-La will lead the way in rebuilding the world into a better place filled with brotherly love. When porters arrive, providing an opportunity to return to the outside world, only George wishes to leave and Maria agrees to accompany him. Richard warns him that, according to Chang, Maria is actually many decades older than she looks and would regain the appearance of her true age if she left Shangri-La. George, however, argues that everything Richard has been told is a lie. Upon returning to talk to the High Lama, Richard learns that the elderly man is aware that his death is near and that he has long been acquainted with Richard’s philosophical writings. The High Lama admits that Richard was brought to this place, in the hope that he would agree to succeed the old man. Honored, Richard accepts, just as the man dies. Later, to prove that Richard has been misled, George asks Maria to tell Richard what she told him, that she is only twenty and was kidnapped two years ago by the lamas. Troubled by this testimony and concerned about George travelling alone, Richard decides to leave. Because the High Lama’s funeral is in progress and the porters are impatient to depart, Richard is unable to say goodbye to Catherine, but Chang predicts that he will return. The journey down the mountain is difficult for Maria and the porters, who soon leave their charges behind and are killed in an avalanche. Richard carries Maria to a cave to rest, and there the brothers discover she has aged and died. Shocked and devastated, George runs from the cave and falls over an icy cliff. Lost, Richard wanders and is eventually rescued, snowblind and starving, and taken to a hospital. As Richard recovers, he tells of his adventure to the doctor, who later admits how much he wants to believe the story. Before Richard can be transferred to England, he mysteriously departs. Travelling alone, Richard eventually finds the mountain pass and the pole marking the cave entrance to Shangri-La. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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