The not so great gold rush of Shangri-La
Gloria has finally decided to venture outside, but she’s still feeling poorly. She drapes herself over a chair but her face betrays the fact she’s simply simply feeling rotten. She`s still tired and pale looking. All of a sudden Barnard, who has been exploring the lay of the land, comes rushing towards her whispering something about gold. Apparently there`s enough of it to make a serious impact on Wall street. But then he notices Gloria isn’t looking terribly well. And probably feels worse than she looks. He promises to cut her in on this gold scheme if she’ll “snap out of it”. Gloria shows little to no interest in this “scheme” as Barnard walks off to make some sort of deal with Chang. She just coughs. This is the first time Barnard has shown any interest in Gloria, an interest that will, in time, be reciprocated.
This next sequence the film is basically unscripted. The shooting draft copy I have gives you a rough idea of what will or might happen, but the majority of this sequence is unscripted. Director Capra simply asked Edward Everett Horton to improvise. Lovey is not in the book Lost Horizon and was inserted by the screenwriter Robert Riskin for comedy relief. Lovey was added with the authors permission.
Lovey is in his room, and expects to be attacked any second. Lovey practices his fighting skills with what appears to be a samurai sword letter opener. After he almost destroys the drapes he trims his nails with the letter opener. He comes far too close for comfort, and almost cuts one of his fingers off. He decides his fighting skills have been sharpened enough, and sits down at his desk to make an entry in his diary. After he writes “THE DIARY OF ALEXANDER P. LOVETT” he adds what he’s been saying all along. “2nd Day at Shangri-La "This place is too mysterious!". He’s nothing if not consistent.
He turns to the box holding all his writing utensils. The inside portion of the lid is a mirror, and he’s startled by his own reflection. Just in case anybody was watching he puts on this phony smile so he pretend he knew the mirror was there all along.
After his abbreviated tour with Chang the previous day Conway sets out to learn what he can himself. The sun is shining and there is no need for a coat. His first stop is to say good morning to some of the locals tending to some horses. He greets them, not really expecting them to understand. When he says good morning they respond in kind in perfect English, which surprises him. They ask Conway if he would like to ride one the horses. He declines the very kind offer.
Suddenly the girl who laughed when he tripped on the stairs goes thundering past him laughing. Before her white horse goes into a full gallop she waves at Conway. Conway suddenly changes his mind about riding a horse and takes a black horse, and takes off in hot pursuit. They are both riding as fast as the horses can go. Conway is clearly catching up, and when the girl and her horse cross a river Conway is only about thirty feet behind her. It looks clear she is letting him catch up, but she is also planning to be a bit mischievous. After the river is a waterfall, and she takes an unseen path to the top of the waterfall.
Conway is mystified. He looks all over, but he can’t find her. She’s succeeded in making a monkey out of him. And from this screen capture it would seem he’s less than pleased. Suddenly he hears a woman laugh from above him. Somehow she and her horse got to the top of the waterfall.
Conway looks up and sees her waving from the top of the waterfall. But she disappears again, but this time to a pond where she intends to take a swim. Unknown to her, Conway has discovered the way up to the top of the waterfall. He dismounts from his horse and is now looking for her on foot. She is already swimming (actually she just out of the water) when a squirrel suddenly starts chattering.
She takes this as warning that Conway is near, and dives back into the water. Conway discovers her clothes by the edge of the pond, and begins to fashion a scarecrow-like effigy. I say scarecrow-like because the head is a flower. She observes the construction of this effigy from the water where she is hidden by water lilies. Conway puts the finishing touches on his creation, then turns his back so the girl can continue her swim in peace.
That night before dinner Barnard teases Lovey about his profession. Lovey is learning to recognize the teasing as bait, and decides not to respond. George (in a good mood for a change –this will change) is nearby and asks his brother if he’s found out anything. Conway, somewhat playfully responds “Well - I heard that if you want a man's wife, she's yours, if he's got any manners”. George refines his question as best he can, and pesters his brother about porters. George complains (when doesn’t he ?) that they’ve been at Shangri-La for two weeks and they haven’t learned anything. Conway makes a snide comment and George grouses rather tensely “I guess we never will know why we're here, or how long we're going to be held prisoners”.