Wednesday, April 16, 2008
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.