Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Imagined Futures in Sci-fi: Lost Horizon

I am taking a course called "Utopia/Dystopia: Imagined Futures in Sci-fi" which focuses on science fiction films from the fifties to the present. I will be writing a few words about each of the films I watch in class.

Lost Horizon
Directed by Frank Capra
Released September 1, 1937

This film is one of those that you can see the merits of and its place in the time it was released, but it has become irreproachably dated, to the point where nearly half the film is unintentionally funny. Regardless, the message of a peaceful utopia is pure, and while many people would not consider unlimited horse riding and singing lessons in a temperate community hidden away in the harsh, cold mountains their idea of perfection, the idea is clear. As a film, it succeeds remarkably well in firmly establishing its small cast of characters. Lead character Bob Conway is particularly likeable because we rarely see nowadays someone so willing to embrace the unknown without shooting at it or at least yelling at it first. H.B. Warner got a respectable Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Chang, the liaison between the utopian community and its guests. The film won Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Film Editing, and I can certainly comment that the film fades in and out a lot but still feels completely connected. The film as it stands now is missing seven minutes of visual but not audio footage, so those parts are filled in effectively by still photographs. This is a well-made and important film whose effect might not be lost as long as you remember that most of the humor of the film is created by the difference between today's society and that of the 1930s.


1 comment:

David said...

Really abe? really? it was nowhere near that good....ewwww...we are going to have to agree to disagree i guess.