Sunday, April 22, 2012

Architecture of Lost Horizon [1937]

Directed by Frank Capra
Cinematography by Joseph Walke
Art Direction by Stephen Gooson
Set Decoration by Babs Johnstone

While Capra's Shangri-La is a promiscuous mishmash of Corbusian International Style modernism, Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie-style, Hollywood Chinoiserie & watered-down, arabian-flavored Empire styles - it somehow all works together to serve the plot's needs for other-worldliness. Whether it espoused the values of classlessness and anti-materialism that motivate that plot is another question. But for sheer, over-the-top fantasy-luxury, it's hard not to enjoy the polished floors, sweeping expanses, baroque patterns, streamlined stairways and countless other details of the gargantuan sets of Lost Horizon.