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Lost Horizon

Our holiday family movie viewing continues with 1973's LOST HORIZON, the infamous Burt Bacharach/Hal David musical that nearly bankrupt Columbia Pictures. If you are going to make a musical, it always helps to cast actors who can sing, so naturally producer Ross Hunter (coming off his huge 1970 hit "Airport") ran out and grabbed George Kennedy (?) Peter Finch (?) Liv Ullmann (?) and John Gielgud (?). Most of those actors "think" their songs, allowing the film to dub in other singer's voices and avoid some heinous lip syncing. Others like Sally Kellerman give it their best shot. The story itself, from James Hilton's novel and Frank Capra's classic film adaption, is very solid. A group of strangers are hijacked and crash in the Andes, only to be escorted to Shangri-La, a valley of perfect weather in the middle of year round blistering snow storms. With little way in or out, our strangers fall in love with the valley and its people or search for ways to escape and get back to civilization. Michael York is very good as Finch's brother, a man desperate to escape and take his new found love with him. The only problem is that his love, Maria (Olivia Hussey) appears to be 20, but she has been in Shangri-La for 80 years....or has she? The non-singing parts of the film are actually quite good, the musical number range from very good (Question Me an Answer) to very painful (the god-awful, silly Living Together, Growing Together). Bacharach and David split up as a writing team after this film, which was a box office disaster, all but spelling the death of the movie musical for the rest of the seventies until a little film called "Grease".

Neither the all out disaster that its reputed to be or a musical classic, it falls somewhere in the middle as an over-produced anomaly of the early seventies. Sings and bumbles its way to a C.

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