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Sunday, May 3, 2009

LOST HORIZON ...a classic for the thinking man and woman PLUS THAT AMAZING KISS!!!

Is there another film from the period that sums up the longing for that great human ideal, a perfect world, a better one than the one we already exist in? "Lost Horizon" with its ideals is the film for the thinking person. It thrives on its themes for humanity, of kindness, love, simplicity and moderation, stripping away the pretense and petty vanities of our lives. We have to realize, certainly, that many of our problems are man-made and due to our envy, greed, lust, selfishness and excessive materialism and consumerism. We need bread (the material things in life for life) but man does not live on bread alone.

Many great teachers and poets teach us that the real treasures are found in the heart and are friendship, love and life. Mika Waltari wrote : “A man cannot be measured by the colour of his skin,or by his speech, or by his clothes and jewels, but only by his heart.”

TIME: the troubled 1930’s; which saw the rise of Japanese militarism in China, Italian aggression in Ethiopia (1935) and the rise of Adolph Hitler (1933-1937). China is beginning to fall apart due Japanese invasions and a growing Civil War between the Communists (MAO TSE TUNG) and the Nationalists (Chiang Kai-shek)

PLACE: “Baskul” , China near the Tibetan border. and the mysterious community of SHANGRI-LA ; Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery (Buddhist monastery). there are also some scenes in London.

Characters and CAST of LOST HORIZON

Robert Conway (“Bob”), famous British explorer, soldier and diplomat, to be appointed to Foreign Secretary (Secretary of State)
(Oscar Winning Actor); famed for his excellent diction. He volunteered for service in World War I and had been severely wounded.

Sondra Bizet JANE WYMAN was a personal friend of Franklin Roosevelt'

Alexander P. Lovett “Lovey”, a paleontologist who cares only for fame

GEORGE CONWAY, Bob’s younger brother..See what happens to him!!! John Howard
HENRY BARNARD, the swindler; a man with a shady past ; he cared only for money Thomas Mitchell –an Oscar winning actor

MARIA, a resident of Shangri-La falls in love with George Conway. See what happens to her!!! Margo María Marguerita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Bolado Castilla y O'Donnell. In her time a famous Mexican dancer and entertainer.

Gloria Stone , a prostitute suffering from TB Isabel Jewell , a well-known Broadway actress of the 20’s and 30’s.

CHANG, a postulant at the lamasery #2 man to the High Lama H.B. Warner nominated for best supporting actor.

The HIGH LAMA (a man of mystery can he be Father Perrault the lost Jesuit Missionary?) Sam Jaffee famous supporting actor.


1) The film begins on March 10, 1935 when Robert Conway, a famous soldier and diplomat, helps evacuate 90 Westerners (called “White People” in the film). When revolutionaries blow up the power station, how does he signal to the plans to land?

2) Conway and the final group of refugees escape just ahead of the Revolutionaries but what is happening to the plane? ______________________________________________
3) How do they learn the plane has been hijacked and they are going the wrong way?

4) Where was the refueling scene filmed? Just guess!

5) When the plan runs out of fuel and crashes in the Himalayas who saves Conway and the passengers?

6) In the beginning what do most of the passengers want to do?

7) Who does Robert Conway meet in Shangri-la?

8) What happens to the terminally ill prostitute Gloria Stone while she is exposed to the pure air of Shangri-la?

9) Robert Conway’s younger brother meets Maria and what do they want to do?

10) Eventually, Robert Conway meets the High Lama and is astonished to find out who he is. Who is the High Lama?___________________________________________
11) What does the High Lama want Robert Conway to do? _______________________________________________________________________
12) Once the High Lama names Robert Conway his successor in Shangri-la what happens to the High Lama?________________________________________________
13) Reluctantly, Robert Conway leaves Shangri-la with his brother and his brother’s girl friend, Maria. On the way back to “civilization” what happens to Maria?

How does George Conway react?____________________________________________
14) Robert Conway is eventually saved by a search party and is heading back to England by ship.. Then what does he do?_____________________________________
15) In the last scene what does Robert Conway find?

16) Who will be waiting for him there?

BIG THEMES in LOST HORIZONS with commentaries and quotations.


War and violence are perhaps man’s most regrettable vice. But perhaps only the dead have seen the last of war. Perhaps it is true that there will always be war and rumors of war. “Three things are best for a chief: Justice, Peace…and an Army.”(Irish saying). Moral force is, unhappily, no substitute for armed force, but it is a great reinforcement. (Winston Churchill)

After the horrors of World War One, LOST HORIZONS touched a chord with many good people in the West. Hitler, of course, hated this film and ordered every negative in Europe to be destroyed. Franklin Roosevelt loved his film and called his Maryland retreat “Shangri-la” (now called Camp David). During the cold war, LOST HORIZONS was considered a foolish product of APPEASEMENT and even “pro-Communist”! This is ironic because the film is infused with oriental anti-materialistic philosophy. Even though President Eisenhower favored a strong defense he recognized, like many thinking people, the tragedy and waste of the arms race: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

#2 The Roots of Peace and Social harmony are JUSTICE as well as COMMUNITY, LOVE and FRIENDSHIP (Very important values)

Mortimer Adler wrote: “Think how different human societies would be if they were based on love rather than justice. But no such societies have ever existed on earth”. ACCORDING TO “Shangri-La” peace and harmony are achieved by a strong community which takes care of rich and poor alike. The High Lama advocates a life of peace and wholeness in which people can enjoy the simple pleasures and virtues of conviviencia living harmoniously with each other. Civilization is order and freedom promoting cultural activity.


A) Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. LAO TZU

B) I am a man: nothing human is alien to me.” ( Terence.)

C) “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage” LAO TZU

D) THE GOLDEN RULE: 'Do unto others what you would wish they would do to you.” (Treat others and you want to be treated). President Kennedy in 1963 appealed to the golden rule in an anti-segregation speech. He said the "heart of the question is ... whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated." ( JUSTICE)

E. Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world. “ (Buddhist saying)

F. Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. Buddhist saying {GRATITUDE}

G. “And so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something… Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember, and I said to them: Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other.” MOTHER THERESA

H. To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity (seriousness), generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. CONFUCIUS


Benjamin Franklin celebrated the frugal, temperance (moderation), in Poor Richard’s Almanac: “He does not posses wealth; it possesses him. ” I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. LAO TZU

4) TOLERANCE: All religions must be tolerated... for every man must get to heaven in his own way. EPICTETUS.

5) BEWARE OF THE harm caused by GREED and MATERIALISM : (The theory or attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life). ; Materialistic concerns are a spiritual danger because they distract and suffocate the ability to cultivate an inner life of the mind and soul. Generosity is the key to a life of abundance and happiness. The desire for wealth is based upon a GRAND ILLUSION. It is founded on the natural desire for SECURITY. But money cannot buy security It cannot buy health, nor true love, nor can it preserve us from, sorrow, loss and death. Remember Robert Conway’s brother; we all will face old age, sickness and death.

1) :The love of money is the metropolis of all evil “ (Democritus; Greek philosopher)

2)“Greed is the desire for that which does not belong to us; from which every evil of the mind springs.” (SENECA)

QUOTES ON MATERIALISM and EDUCATION. In Shangri-la people are happy because they cultivate their personal lives with a higher culture based on self-improvement, self-sustaining agriculture, beautiful architecture, books and music.

1)“When gold and jade fill your hall, you will not be able to keep them safe.” Lao Tzu.

2)“To not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves (robbers) break in and steal.” (Mathew 6:19)

3) “ For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mathew 8:36)

4) 'When the people have multiplied, what next should be done for them? The Master said, Enrich them. Jan Ch'iu said, When one has enriched them, what next should be done for them? The Master said, Instruct them.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, xiii. 9)

5) The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. (Confucius)

6) Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Serenity is the greatest joy. LAO TZU

Tao Te Ching 道德經 The Way of Virtue by LAO TZU

1)Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

2) If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading

3) Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

4) He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. (SELF-CONTROL)

5) It is a grave mistake to disrespect your teacher. .It is a grave mistake not to love your work. This is an important insight.


1) If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.

2) It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

3)No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

4)Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


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