RONALD COLMAN GIVES THE LOWDOWN ON HIMSELF
Ronald Colman would like to find a real Shangri-La. In this new slant on himself he also sizes up the part of Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind."
By Gladys Hall
WHEN Director Frank Capra read James Hilton's Prize winning, world-read novel Lost Horizon he wanted then and there to screen it. He said: "It held up a mirror to the thoughts of every human being on earth."
The other day, in his dressing room bungalow on the Selznick International lot I talked with Ronald Colman who, in the magnificent Picture, so magnificently portrays Robert Conway who goes to Shangri-La - and stays there.
And Ronnie said to me: "It does more than mirror the thoughts of every human being on earth. It mirrors the desire of every human being on earth. For all of us, famed or unsung, wealthy or impoverished, the successes as well as the failures, the frustrated or the reverse have a nostalgia, at the very roots of their beings, for going "back to the land," for a Castle in Spain, for some remote fastness , some Port of Peace. Whatever name we give it, it means the same thing. It means - a Shangri-La.
"In connection with which I can tell you an amusing incident, rather a revealing incident, too - and a sad commentary on life as most of us live it. Over a year ago I was dining with a group of men, very sophisticated men, very successful men. Who could have had no valid reason for wishing to shut the doors of the world in their own faces. Such men as Mare Connelly, Charlie MacArthur, Bob Sherwood, a few others. Mind you, I had not then, the slightest idea that I was ever to make Lost Horizon nor indeed that it was to be made at all. My interest was simply that of a reader of the book, one who had felt the nostalgia it gave to all who read it.
"I had no personal interest in it at the time. But my attention was caught as I head the name Shangri-La said over and over again. And I was interested and fascinated by the rapt intensity with which these men of the world were were discussing it, by the earnestness and eagerness, the almost feverish light in their eyes when they said how they wished that they, too, might find a Shangri-La.
"So do I," said Ronnie.
Which statement left me unsurprised. For Ronald Colman, if any man, would wish to find a Shangri-La. Failing to find the physical location he has, I think, found his own Shangri-La in himself.