Movie Fact #620 – September 24th, 2014:

Movies nowadays can run into budgets as high as $250 million. Hard to believe back in the 1937, when the film “Lost Horizon” was made, Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn authorized a budget of $1.25 million for the film which was the largest amount ever allocated to a project up to that time with it eventually being $1.6 million thanks to several difficulties that director Frank Capra faced that led to cost overruns.

Contributing to the added expenses was the filming of snow scenes and aircraft interiors at the Los Angeles Ice and Cold Storage Warehouse where the unfortunate low temperature affected the equipment and caused lengthy delays. Also the Streamline Moderne sets representing Shangri-La, designed by Stephen Goosson, had been constructed adjacent to Hollywood Way which was a busy thoroughfare by day and therefore necessitated filming at night, heavily adding to overtime expenses. It didn’t help many exteriors were filmed on location in Palm Springs, Lucerne Valley, the Ojai Valley, the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in what is now Westlake Village, adding the cost of transporting cast, crew, and equipment to the swelling budget. Capra also used multiple cameras to cover every scene from several angles. In fact, by the time shooting ended, he had used 1.1 million feet of film. Even for one scene that lasted four minutes, he shot 6,000 feet, the equivalent of one hour of screen time.

Filmmaking never seems to go as planned, but this film demonstrates the true frustration of trying to keep a budget and schedule.

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Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 12:38 AM  Leave a Comment  

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