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FRANK CAPRA – LOST HORIZON

Submitted by ceo on October 5, 2010 – 8:43 pm3 Comments

In the final analysis, Shangri-La is an extremely egoistic response to the world. The Lama, after all, is asking a very capable man of the world to withdraw his considerable talents from it, to cultivate his own garden with his beautiful wife until, in time, the world must turn to him. Indeed, the very notion of Shangri-La is rooted in a despair that outweighs any countervailing optimism the valley is intended to inspire. Howard Hawks and John Ford could create groups and societies within the world where friendship and loyalty and justice prevailed; theirs are worlds of middle-distance and long shots. In the one-shot world of Frank Capra, community is an unworldly commodity, and Shangri-La an unworldly repository, not of community, but simply of refuge.

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  • Michael Dean says:

    I have to say, you’re covering my favorites quite handily. The remaining popular ones, of course – Mr. Smith, Mr. Deeds, It Happened One Night and You Can’t Take It With You – are well known. American Madness would be one to look at, as well. Platinum Blond would be another choice. His silent work also is good. As for other directors, I’m afraid I’ve only recently paid much attention to directors. Only last year did I actually realize Capra had directed so many films that I enjoyed. Cuckor’s name did not ring a bell, but I have seen a lot of his work. He would be a good choice. As would John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock (another favorite of mine). While I’ve long enjoyed classic films, I always paid more attention to who was in front of the camera, rather than behind. I’m still learning about the people on the other side.

  • ceo says:

    Michael, any other Capra films you would like to see us focus on? How about other directors – we were thinking about featuring George Cuckor next.

  • Michael Dean says:

    “Lost Horizon” is one of Capra’s attempts to make a more adventurous film. I like the story Capra tells of the original premiere and how the audience laughed throughout. He went back to the studio and burned the first two reels of film. The next showing, the audience reaction was completely different and the film was much better received. Another Capra film – like “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” – I wouldn’t necesarily deem essential, but still a top ten pick.

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