Thursday, November 24, 2011

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 1891-1996, certainly the longest time span of any NFR 25, and included: The Bargain (1914), The Front Page (1931), W. C. Field's starrer It's A Gift (1934), Saturday Night Fever (1977), and Airplane! (1980).   Also included were historically important films such as A Trip Down Market Street (1906), an amazing record of San Francisco's famed thoroughfare just days before the earthquake.  A link to the LA Times article from last year can be found here; I really thought this was the best NFR 25 selection list in years... I hope they chose as well this year.

The National Film Registry started in 1989, and there are currently 550 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, to include those fictional feature films that are great films (more of a Sight and Sound approach) or cult films (such as Grey Gardens) 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 for two years running) is Blue Velvet.  I made a change to my approach last 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; they did manage Malcolm X [1992] last year).  So I decided, when NONE of my choices made it the year before last, to have my most recent film be 20 years old instead. Why waste the votes?  I put two back from the mid-90s this year.  But, as a result of this decision last year, 3 of my films made the cut: The Exorcist (1973), All the Presidents Men (1976), and [at long last] The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

My choices for this go-round, by year:

1910s-20s-30s (3 titles)
A Tale of Two Cities (1917)
The Sheik (1921)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

1940s (5 titles)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Bambi (1942)
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 Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Front (1976)
Grease (1978)
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)

1980s (10 titles)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (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)
Wall Street (1987)
Die Hard (1988)

1990s (2 titles)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Titanic (1997)

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