Thursday, November 25, 2010

Time to Lobby the Library of Congress About the National Film Registry

Happy Thanksgiving!

In one month, the Library of Congress will announce the next 25 films to be added to the National Film Registry.  Last year's list spanned the years 1911-86, and included: Little Nemo (1911), Jezebel (1938), Pillow Talk (1959), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), The Muppet Movie (1979), and Chuck Workman's love letter to film Precious Images (1986).  Also included were historically important films such as The Exiles (1961), "one of the few non-stereotypical films that honestly depict Native Americans." Unfortunately, the NFR decided to put music video "Thriller" in the mix--a can of worms that should not have been opened.  "Thriller" should be a choice for the National Television Registry (that doesn't exist).  Are we supposed to add significant music videos each year?  To what end?  And if the argument is that it was filmed that's why it's a "film", well so was I Love Lucy.  And if the argument is that it was filmed "like a movie" than so is every single TV movie: are we adding those too?

The National Film Registry started in 1989, and there are currently 525 films on the list.  Although the obscure films and historically important documentaries fulfill the mandate of the Registry, there does seem to be a movement, at least in recent years, to include those fictional feature films that are great films (more of a Sight and Sound approach) or cult films (such as The Incredible Shrinking Man last year) and not just historically or culturally important ones (there are still many Oscar-winning Best Pictures not on the list, for example).

You can e-mail your list to the Library of Congress and they'll consider your choices.  Link to their website.

Below are my picks for what should be added to this year's list (I only do the narrative feature films: I'll let the Library of Congress decide on the obscure works).  To me, the film that most needs to be added above all (my choice last year as well) is Blue Velvet.  I have made a change to my approach this year... The NFR allows any movie so long as it is at least 10 years old-- dutifully I have added one film from 10 years ago... which the NFR OUGHT to do so as not to "fall behind."  But they don't.  And it seems that they almost never have films from the last 20 years (unless they are the obscure or historically significant ones).  So I decided, when NONE of my choices made it last year, to have my most recent film be 20 years old instead.  Why waste the votes?

My choices for this go-round, by year:

1910s-20s-30s (4 titles)
A Tale of Two Cities (1917)
The Sheik (1921)
The Guardsman (1931)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

1940s (5 titles)
Bambi (1942)
First Comes Courage (1943)
Lifeboat (1944)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
The Lady From Shanghai (1948)

1950s (10 titles)
Harvey (1950)
The Red Badge Of Courage (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Limelight (1952)
The Quiet Man (1952)
Stalag 17 (1953)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
The Killing (1956)
The King and I (1956)
Auntie Mame (1958)

1960s (10 titles)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Lolita (1962)
The Birds (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Seconds (1966)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

1970s (10 titles)
Love Story (1970)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
All the Presidents Men (1976)
The Front (1976)
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)

1980s (10 titles)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Arthur (1981)
The World According to Garp (1982)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Aliens (1986)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Die Hard (1988)

1990s (1 title)
Awakenings (1990)

No comments: