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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard Gallagher, Dec 13, 2012.
Interesting review http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/59121/lost-horizon-1973/
The review itself was a revelation. He didnt hold up that movie as an article of scorn and a springboard for cheap, tired wisecracks like most reviewers.
That's our job as viewers.
I've watched the blu-ray a few times now, and while I enjoyed it somewhat, it certainly remains a curiosity and a misconceived failure: as a musical. as a film and as an adaption of the novel. I can understand why some might actually like it (indeed even the Star Wars Holiday Special has its' fans) , but by any conventional standards it falls very short indeed. For those few (or is it the one?) who have made their obsession with this film apparently a central pillar in their lives I can only say that love is indeed blind (and maybe a little deaf). I am glad it's on blu-ray though, and that Sony invested the time and money to present it as well as they have.
Lost Horizon is just plain fun, beautiful to look at and listen to. Where Lost Horizon DOES become great? It's in the blu-ray. It's the isolated music track on this blu-ray. That's where the film is genius. I often wondered what the film would have been with Bacharach just doing the instrumental score rather than making it an all out musical. Unlike MAME, Peter Finch holds his cast and the film together. He is warm in the part. That was not the case with MAME. The character is a warm free spirit. Lucille Ball by nature was a cold individual. It was not in her nature to be warm. She could "act it", but that doesn't mean it would come across on film in anyway other than being a control freak. You get the feeling that the cast in Lost Horizon enjoyed the experience and liked one another. In MAME you have the feeling that Lucy is running the show with an iron fist and everything is designed to make her look good at the expensive of other performances and the picture at large.
Comparing LOST HORIZON to MAME is like comparing apples to oranges. They two different animals or fruit. A better film to compare LOST HORIZON to would GOODBYE MR. CHIPS. Of course the novels are by the same author but they were dramatic stories. Not a comedy verses a Drama. Damn me, I just took Cinermanic's bait. Lol
I was talking about the lead actors as it pertains to holding the piece together. The Star sets the tone for the film and the entire company, maybe even more so than the director. Both Lost Horizon and Mame have star parts. Peter Finch and Lucille Ball are in practically every frame of their movie. MAME is a half way comedy. There were a lot of funny lines in the original production that were thrown out by Ball. She ran that production. The supporting players were cast similar to how actors were cast in her TV series. People who would not upstage Lucy and only make her look good in comparison. Sure they could be good, but not as good as her. Where as Peter Finch didn't care. He was going to do his part and let everyone do theirs. He treated the film as a "company", not as a star vehicle to outshine everyone and restart a film career.
Still apples to oranges. The actors were totally different in their abilities and their characterizations. Although it would be interesting to see Lucille Ball play the Howard Beale role in NETWORK and Peter Finch play the lead in THE FULLER BRUSH GIRL.
An star comparison to Peter Finch would be more of Peter O'Toole or even Richard Burton, certainly not Lucille Ball.
Also as you said, Lucy had the clout and ability to cast who she wanted around her, Mr. Finch did not. In fact, I believe Mr. Finch was second choice for the role in Horizon.
I don't know anyone else who was in the running for the Finch part in LH. Nobody was happy with Lucy hijacking Mame, but then when you think about, just about everyone had a crack at playing the part on stage. What I was talking about is applicable to any film with a main lead or central starring role to the story, be it comedy, musical, drama, whatever. It's the tone the star sets for the rest of the cast in the picture. Got it?
I love Peter Finch as much as the next guy but, as Allen pointed out, it's not the same thing at all. Peter Finch was much more an actor than a star. His name on the marquee couldn't "open" a picture in any significant way.
Peter Finch had yet to do Network. He was hardly a "star" in the sense of Peter O'Toole. He'd had a very nice career and had some heat thanks to Sunday Bloody Sunday. And yes, AHollis, you took the bait But no argument from me about the dramatic score by Bacharach, which I think works wonderfully in the film. Orchestrations by the always terrific Shuken and Hayes.
Haineshisway, I played the isolated music track for a bunch of 19 years olds who only listen to rap artists and todays recording stars and they loved it. Concerning MAME, not that Warners would have any interest but those songs of Lucy's could be fixed with auto tunes.
By 1971 Hunter didn't think anybody could: "But there isn't a star in the world today who can guarantee a return at the box office. Not one." http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=SpscAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dGYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7432,3667082&dq=lost-horizon+ross-hunter&hl=en
Gotta love that Sarasota Herald-Tribune page that includes restaurant ads with the 1971 prices. Oh to go back to the days when the most expensive dinner on the menu at Red Lobster was $3.25! Of course, back then I was only making $1.85 an hour pumping gas at my father's garage. But back to Lost Horizon. The article is correct that everyone is looking for a Shangri-La. It took a lot of courage to make a big budget musical remake of a 1937 film when the public was more into counter culture fare. But the very fact that the film exists today on blu ray with really gorgeous picture and sound for all to enjoy bespeaks it's continuing popularity. I'm hopeful that it will long endure.
It is astounding that LOST HORIZON was given this type of blu-ray treatment when so many other films are just released with little else but the film on the blu-ray. The only footage really left for fans of this movie is the 90 minute MERV GRIFFIN show of the premiere at the Mann's National in Westwood. He did his entire show from that theatre lobby interviewing one star after another as they came in. It was a big premiere with all of hollywood was there. Ronald Reagan, Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, Susan Haywood, Doris Day, Carol Burnett, Liza Minnelli, Dean Martin, etc. Merv kept saying to all of them, "oh and you know, it just has to be great". Expectations were high that night and it rained buckets. Merv Griffin would do the same for MAME at the Cinerama Dome a year later. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/799/photos/7864
Saw the blu-ray last night. Beautiful transfer, great sound. I love Bacharach/David and their PROMISES, PROMISES is one of my all time favorite musicals, so I'm going to go out of my way here and thank Mr. Kimmel for the outstanding work he did on the 2 Kritzerland releases preserving the Original Broadway and Original London Cast Recordings of that show. Back to LOST HORIZON, the film was a plane wreck (and yes that pun was very much intended)....and the blame lays squarely on the odd casting choices. Peter Finch? Liv Ullman? Olivia Hussey? Sally Kellerman? GEORGE KENNEDY?!!!...COME ON!! Very interesting Sony made the effort to restore the film for the obsessives who live, eat and breath the film every single moment of every single waking day, but no amount of high digital restoration will hide the fact of what this movie really is....if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck...you know the rest, but in LOST HORIZON'S case it's a TURKEY.
Hoping someone can educate me on the PQ aspects of the disk...
I watched it at 100 inches and observed that the actors faces were nicely detailed (not super detailed, but quite nice), but in the same shots that the faces were nicely detailed their clothes would often look noticeably softer in detail. Yet face and clothes were in similar range from camera (clothes fractionally futher away). Normally in these types of shots if face is sharp the clothes will also be sharp.
Also, in the outdoor shots the wildlife (plants/flowers etc) was never very detailed, almost always a very soft image.
Any ideas on this?
Actually, I like "Dick Tracy" very much. It's interesting visually, has a superb underscore by Danny Elfman, and the songs by Stephen Sondheim are very sophisticated. Beatty has some great moments with "the kid". The supporting characters are way overdone/hammy, IMO.
To turn down the sound on "The Blue Lagoon" is to commit frontal lobotomy. Yes, the film is gorgeous to watch, but the photography is genuinely enhanced by some of the best sound design I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The wind rustling the palm fronds, the gorgeous Basil Poledouris score, the sound of the rain and the breezes rustling bushes make this film one of the most exquisite sensory pleasures for me.
"Lost Horizon" is, basically, a very badly directed film with little to nothing of merit for its actors. The songs -- by themselves -- are really quite interesting. Attached to the film, and performed for the film, they seem atrocious. Yet, there is "something" there.
The wold is a "circle", indeed! ; )