National archive adds 25 significant films to preservation list
By Judith Egerton
While you make and break your New Year's resolutions, the Library of Congress is keeping its promise to preserve American films for future generations.
This week, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 movies from every era of American filmmaking to its National Film Registry, which was established by Congress in 1989.
The films range from "White Fawn's Devotion," a 1910 film by James Young Deer, the first known Native American movie director, to the 1984 sci-fi movie, "The Terminator," directed by James Cameron.
Films named to the registry, which now totals 500 films, become part of the library's state-of-the art, motion-picture preservation program. The movies are selected for their cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.
The registry serves as an education resource while preserving films that are easily damaged and lost. According to Billington, the U.S. has lost about half of the films produced before 1950 and perhaps 90 percent of those made before 1920.
Here's a glimpse of the films selected for preservation in case you resolve to see some of them:
"The Asphalt Jungle" (1950) -- John Huston's excellent crime drama stars Sam Jaffe as the mastermind of a jewel heist. Marilyn Monroe appears in a small role.
"Deliverance" (1972) -- Kentuckian Ned Beatty stars with Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds in this adaptation of James Dickey's novel about a traumatic backwoods canoe trip.
"Disneyland Dream" (1956) -- The Barstow family of Connecticut made this memorable and historical home movie about their trip to Disneyland and other Los Angeles sites.
"A Face in the Crowd" (1957) -- In his big screen debut, Andy Griffith portrays an alcoholic country singer who becomes an overnight star after a radio station employee (Kentucky native Patricia Neal) puts him on the air. The movie is based on a short story by Budd Schulberg, who also wrote the script for director Elia Kazan.
"Flower Drum Song" (1961) -- This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical stars Nancy Kwan and James Shigeta and was the first Hollywood studio film to feature a predominantly Asian cast.
"Foolish Wives" (1922) -- Director Erich von Stroheim's third American feature film about a criminal who pretends to be a Russian count established the Austrian actor-director's reputation as a brilliant, controversial auteur.
"Free Radicals" (1979) -- New Zealand-born filmmaker Len Lye's 4-minute work involves scratches on film stock that appear to dance along with African tribal music.
"Hallelujah" (1929) -- One of the first masterpieces of the sound era, the movie features spirituals and a mass river baptism in a story about a charismatic preacher. The all-black-cast film was an MGM gamble that the studio allowed partly because director King Vidor deferred his salary. The film starred Daniel L. Haynes.
"In Cold Blood" (1967) -- This black-and-white film version of Truman Capote's book about a real crime focuses on the men who murdered a family in Holcomb, Kan. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson play the killers. ... (more)
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