January 1, 2009

New Films Added to the National Film Registry!

Here's the story from Variety:
“The Asphalt Jungle,” “Sergeant York,” “In Cold Blood,” “The Pawnbroker,” “Deliverance” and “The Terminator” are among the 25 films selected in 2008 by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Film Registry.
The registry is designed to ensure that pics that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant will be preserved for all time.
As always, the selections for ‘08 range from classics to obscure gems. “Disneyland Dream” is a Connecticut family’s 1956 home movie of their trip to Disneyland and other Los Angeles-area spots after winning a contest sponsored by Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape. (It’s become a cult fave on the Web among Disney buffs.) “No Lies” is a 16-minute 1973 film by then-NYU film student Mitchell Block about the treatment of a rape victim by investigators.
The annual registry selections are chosen by Librarian of Congress James Billington from nominations made by the public via the website of the library’s National Film Preservation Board and by board members including Martin Scorsese, Caleb Deschanel, Gregory Nava and Leonard Maltin. For inclusion, the pic must be a U.S. production and be at least 10 years old.
Other famed pics on the list include “A Face in the Crowd” (1957); “Flower Drum Song” (1961); “Foolish Wives” (1922); “The Invisible Man” (1933); “Johnny Guitar” (1954); “The Killers” (1946); “The Perils of Pauline” (1914); and “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” (1958).
Also making the cut is a collection of rare color WWII European battle footage shot by helmer George Stevens; MGM’s 1929 musical “Hallelujah,” directed by King Vidor with an all-black cast; and “Free Radicals,” a 1979 four-minute experimental short in which New Zealand filmmaker Len Lye made scratches directly on the film stock and then set the sticklike images dancing to field recordings of the music of an African tribe.
Buster Keaton’s first two-reeler, 1920’s “One Week,” is on the list, as is W.C. Fields’ 1926 pic “So’s Your Old Man” and 1989’s “Water and Power,” filmmaker Pat O’Neill’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner that blends images of downtown Los Angeles with scenes of water flowing to the city from the Owens Valley.
Docs getting the preservation nod include the landmark 1910 study of Native Americans, “White Fawn’s Devotion”; “On the Bowery,” Lionel Rogosin’s 1957 docudrama depiction of the lives of three denizens of Gotham’s skid row; and 1964’s “The March,” a docu on the 1963 March on Washington produced through the United States Information Agency.
The inclusion of “Disneyland Dream” reflects a push by the Library to find worthy examples of amateur filmmaking that captures a unique event or moment in time for the nation, said Patrick Loughney, head of the Library’s Packard Campus audiovisual preservation facility.
The National Film Registry was established in 1989. The 25 selections of 2008 bring the number of titles in the collection to 500. All titles in the registry are available for screening free of charge at the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill.
“Both as a public-awareness tool and as an educational learning aid for students, the registry helps this nation understand the diversity of America’s film heritage and, just as importantly, the need for its preservation,” Billington said in announcing the selections.
“The nation has lost about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90% of those made before 1920. In addition, more and more nitrate-based and acetate-based films are deteriorating with the passage of time,” he added.
-Very cool to see Terminator there!


  1. Well it's all good and lovely, and what a great idea, but I hope nothing happens to a huge part of humanity any time soon - 500 films? 25 a year, having only started in 1989? And those selected by a small number of people? I don't think they appreciate the fluid and relative importance of film to people. Oh it all seems rather underwhelming! Apparently it's been 120 years since the first film - I just think this collection is a let down. I cannot imagine us ever needing the likes of Glitter or Garfield Gets Real following an apocalyptic event but it makes you wonder! Well, it makes me wonder.