Frank Capra talks about the first screenings of Lost Horizon on Dick Cavett's show.
I was working in a video store when it came out on tape: a movie that should have been a classic, but never quite achieved that potential.
The Internet Movie Database has one of its original taglines as: "Millions to make it! . . . Two years in production! . . . The best seller that set a new style in romance floods the screen with splendor and drama surpassing Frank Capra's greatest past achievements, Mr Deeds and It Happened One Night.
It's not hard to believe some ad copy writer penned that in the world of breathless hyperbole that was 1930s film promotion.
"The Masterpiece Of America's Foremost Film Genius Blazes To The Screen!"
It was Capra who ended up setting the first two reels ablaze after a horrendous first screening of the movie that, despite seven Oscar nominations including best picture, has had a turbulent life. That video version that floated into our shop in the late 1980s included numerous scenes where the soundtrack played while stills stood on the screen and there were other signs that a completed copy could not be cobbled together.
But it was still a fascinating movie to look at, a mesmerizing portrait of people entering an icy, mythical land where the residents don't age and all is peaceful. It's a film that sticks in you memory as much for its art deco imagery as much as its story.
We get the rare treat of seeing it Wednesday on the big screen as part of the Kentucky Theatre's Summer Classics series, and we can decide for ourselves whether it's indeed a lost classic. Showtimes are 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. Admission is $3.