Cinematic Travels: Shangri-La

Ronald Colman in 1937 film, Lost Horizon.

Ronald Colman in 1937 film, Lost Horizon.

I watched Frank Capra’s 1937 film, Lost Horizon, over the weekend.

Faces from a number of great movies make an appearance including Ronald Colman as the hero Robert Conway, Edward Everett Horton as a ridiculous paleontologist (He excels in ridiculousness. My favorite example is Horton’s absurdity in the Gay Divorcee) and John Howard as George Conway, the brother of Robert Conway.

The film is based on a James Hilton novel of the same name.

Conway and the others are trying to escape China as war has broken out, but their plane is hijacked and later crashes in Tibet. They survive and find themselves in Shangri-La: an apparent utopia. Everyone gets along, there is no strife and the rule is moderation. Robert Conway falls in love with the place and a beautiful woman there, while his brother George wants desperately to leave.

Is Shangri-La really a magical utopia or something sinister? I won’t spoil it for you, but I will share a fascinating article I read earlier this year in National Geographic Traveler about a real life search for Shangri-La.

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