Lost Horizon

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“Lost Horizon” is a 1937 science fiction film directed by Frank Capra and based on the novel of the same name by James Hilton. The film follows the story of a group of American passengers who crash their plane in the Himalayan mountains and are rescued by a group of Tibetan monks who lead them to Shangri-La, a hidden city in a pristine valley.

The film was a huge success with critics and audiences upon its release, winning two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Editing. It is considered one of Capra’s best films and one of the classics of 1930s American cinema.

The story of the film explores themes such as the pursuit of happiness, spirituality and human nature. The main character, played by Ronald Colman, is an American diplomat who, after spending time in Shangri-La, must choose whether to stay in the happy and peaceful city or return to life in the outside world.

The film is known for its breathtaking cinematography, enchanting soundtrack and the performance of its actors. It is considered one of the first science fiction films and influenced many later films with similar themes. “Lost Horizon” is a cinematic classic that deserves to be seen for its visual beauty and thematic depth.




The plot of “Lost Horizon” follows a group of American passengers who, due to a plane crash, crash in the Himalayan mountains. Among the survivors is Robert Conway (played by Ronald Colman), a British diplomat who was returning home after completing a mission in China.

Conway and the other survivors are rescued by a group of Tibetan monks who lead them to Shangri-La, a hidden city in a remote and untouched valley of the Himalayas. The city seems to be an earthly paradise, where people live in peace and harmony, and where time seems to stand still.

Conway falls in love with Sondra (played by Jane Wyatt), a young woman living in Shangri-La, and begins to feel drawn to the city’s quiet and serene life. However, Conway and the other survivors worry about their future and look for a way back to their previous lives.

Tensions mount when a group of Tibetan rebels try to attack the city, endangering everyone’s lives. Conway must make a difficult choice between the happy and peaceful life of Shangri-La and his old life in the outside world.

The film’s plot explores themes such as the pursuit of happiness, spirituality and human nature, offering a unique insight into a different culture and a utopian vision of life.




Here are the main characters of “Lost Horizon”:

Robert Conway (played by Ronald Colman): The main character, a British diplomat who has an extraordinary experience after surviving a plane crash.

Sondra (played by Jane Wyatt): A young woman living in Shangri-La who falls in love with Conway.

Chang (played by H.B. Warner): The leader of the Tibetan monks who rescue Conway and the other plane crash survivors.

Henry Barnard (played by Thomas Mitchell): An American journalist who tries to convince the other survivors to return to normal life.

Gloria (played by Isabel Jewell): An American girl who tries to seduce Conway and get him to come back with her to the United States.

These characters, along with other members of the Shangri-La community and the antagonists, form a complex character ensemble that contributes to the film’s plot and narrative.


Film Production


The film “Lost Horizon” was produced by Columbia Pictures and directed by Frank Capra, with a budget of approximately $1.25 million. Production began in March 1937 and finished in June of that year.

Most of the film was shot at Columbia Pictures’ studios in Hollywood, with the exception of some exterior scenes which were filmed in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. Additionally, some scenes were filmed in Bishop, California, and still others on a farm near San Luis Obispo.

Director Frank Capra used some special effects to create the image of Shangri-La and the valley that surrounds it, using different filters to change the light and tone of the images. Also, a large maquette was used to create the image of the hidden city.

The film received widespread attention during its production, with a large publicity campaign that included the distribution of posters and the creation of a children’s picture book telling the story of the film.

In conclusion, “Lost Horizon” has been produced with great care and attention to detail, using innovative techniques to create evocative and engaging images.

Distribution and Reception

“Lost Horizon” was released in theaters in the United States on March 2, 1937. The film achieved great success with audiences and critics, becoming one of Columbia Pictures’ greatest successes of the time.

The film received seven nominations at the 1938 Academy Awards, winning two awards for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. In addition, “Lost Horizon” was entered into the National Film Registry of the United States Library of Congress in 1998, as a work of “significant cultural, historical or aesthetic value”.

The film was particularly praised for its imaginative and romantic storytelling, its poetic image of an exotic culture and its moving soundtrack. In addition, the film influenced many other subsequent cinematic works, including Ridley Scott’s ‘The Paradise Suddenly’.

“Lost Horizon” was a huge success with critics and audiences, praised for its romantic story and innovative visual style. Even today, it is considered a classic of the american cinema from the 1930s.

Movie Style

“Lost Horizon” is a film that stands out for its visual and narrative style, characterized by a romantic and dreamy atmosphere.

The film was shot with intense and dramatic photography, which uses different techniques to create evocative and engaging images. For example, director Frank Capra used special lenses to create a blurred and poetic image, giving the film a dreamlike feel.

Furthermore, the film uses an immersive and moving soundtrack, composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, which helps create an romantic atmosphere and dreamy.

Narratively, “Lost Horizon” stands out for its imaginative and romantic story, which describes an ideal and utopian world, where peace and happiness reign supreme. The narrative is heavily influenced by the novel by James Hilton on which the film is based, and is based on a balance between realism and fantasy.

“Lost Horizon” is characterized by an innovative and engaging visual and narrative style, which has influenced many other subsequent cinematic works.





The director of “Lost Horizon” is Frank Capra, one of most important directors 20th century Americans. Capra was a master comedian and directed many of the biggest blockbusters of American cinema of the 1930s and 1940s.

Capra has directed a number of successful films, including “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “Pay Day”, “La Signora di Shanghai” (The Lady from Shanghai) and many others.

Capra was a very versatile director and was able to range between different genres, such as comedy, drama, noir and adventure. In addition, he created unforgettable characters and worked with some of the greatest actors of his time, such as James Stewart, Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

In “Lost Horizon”, Capra was able to create a poetic and romantic atmosphere, which helped make the film a classic of American cinema of the 30s. Thanks to his mastery in creating evocative and engaging atmospheres, Capra has been able to make “Lost Horizon” one of his most successful and appreciated films.



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