Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Question Me An Answer

Though it's probably a bad, bad movie, I'm dying to get my chance to see the 1973 remake of Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, a prime example of the disconnect between the Hollywood Studios and the movie audience of the seventies. And I don't want to see it so much because of the moviemaking but rather to see how the songs are deployed in context of the film, as this is the only original motion picture musical written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; in fact its colossal failure was the beginning of the end of their partnership. I bought the soundtrack on a whim a few years ago, partly because the movie was so famous for being bad and partly because of its garish gatefold cover of the steps of Shangri-La. I didn't actually listen to the record until I went on a huge Bacharach bender and tried to sample everything he did. (Another fantastic discovery along these lines was Bacharach and David's score for Promises, Promises on Broadway, another remake, this time of The Apartment, with Jerry Orbach. The clip below is a mindblowing number from the 1968 Tony Awards of the most uncharacteristic song from the show.)

This is a clip from a Bacharach TV special made around the time of Lost Horizon and Burt seems pretty enthusiastic about the project and working with a children's choir (was there ever a man who seemed more comfortable in his own skin?) but in a more recent interview he painted the experience as a nightmare - perhaps the reception it received got under his skin over the years.

But it's a terrific score, anyway, considering Sally Kellerman sings a few of the songs. I would have been classified as a "heavy user" of this soundtrack a couple of years ago - I played it a few times a week, not my usual practise. Of course there is no DVD of the film, even as a cash-in on Bacharach's cult status. How happy I am to be able to present this appreciation of one of the highlights of Lost Horizon courtesy of two hilarious Dutchmen.


Michael said...

The sales-pitch manner of the first clip and that particular era of earnestness was tough to take for me. And although the Dutch guys were fun, the meat of this sandwich was where the delight was stuffed, for me. That dance sequence was beautiful!

I'm a Hal and Burt fan too, of course, but I don't know this soundtrack at all. To the record bins!

cinebeats said...

I love the 1973 version of Lost Horizon more than the original! I'm surprised it's not on DVD yet due to it's cast of a "thousand stars."

Yes, it's CHEEZY with a capitol C but so damn fun plus Michael York is incredibly hot in the movie and I've had a crush on him since I was a kid mostly thanks to all the great movies he made in the early 70s like Lost Horizon, Cabaret, Logan's Run and The Three Musketeers, which played on American TV a lot when I was young.

Jesse said...

He was pretty good in the eighties TV movie Sword of Gideon (kind of remade recently as Munich) as the team's bomb-maker. And then he had a recurring role on Gilmore Girls!

I loved the Three/Four Muskateers films as a kid too.