National Film Registry List: ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Magnificent Seven’, More

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 12:12am PST

magnificent sevenThe Library of Congress has unveiled its annual list of 25 films that will join the National Film Registry. The movies are culled from the period 1919-2002 and include classics like Rita Hayworth-starrer Gilda; sci-fi pic Forbidden Planet; western The Magnificent Seven; war drama Judgment At Nuremberg; Mary Poppins (fitting in a year where Gilda_trailer_hayworth1Saving Mr Banks, the story of that film’s genesis, is playing in movie theaters); astronaut epic The Right Stuff; Michael Moore’s Roger & Me; and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Each of the 25 films will be preserved as cinematic treasures for generations to come. “The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema,” said Librarian of Congress, James H Billington. “This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered, so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity.” There are also some silent films on the list including Daughter Of Dawn, featuring an all-Native-American cast; 1919′s A Virtuous Vamp, starring Constance Talmadge; and 1926′s Ella Cinders. Earlier this month, the Library of Congress released a survey that found that 70% of American silent movies have been lost. In all, this year’s additions bring the number of films in the registry to 625. The complete 2013 list is below:

Bless Their Little Hearts (1984)
Part of the vibrant New Wave of independent African-American filmmakers to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Woodberry became a key figure in the movement known as the L.A. Renaissance. Woodberry crafted his UCLA thesis film, “Bless Their Little Hearts,” which was theatrically released in 1984. The film features a script and cinematography by Charles Burnett. This spare, emotionally resonant portrait of family life during times of struggle blends grinding, daily-life sadness with scenes of deft humor. Jim Ridley of the “Village Voice” aptly summed up the film’s understated-but- real virtues: “Its poetry lies in the exaltation of ordinary detail.”

Brandy in the Wilderness (1969)
This introspective “contrived diary” film by Stanton Kaye features vignettes from the relationship of a real-life couple, in this case the director and his girlfriend. An evocative 1960s time capsule—reminiscent of Jim McBride’s “David Holzman’s Diary”—this simulated autobiography, as in many experimental films, often blurs the lines between reality and illusion, moving in non-linear arcs through the ever-evolving and unpredictable interactions of relationships, time and place. As Paul Schrader notes, “it is probably quite impossible (and useless) to make a distinction between the point at which the film reflects their lives, and the point at which their lives reflect the film.” “Brandy in the Wilderness” remains a little-known yet key work of American indie filmmaking.

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Survey Finds 70% Of American Silent Movies Have Been Lost To Time Or Neglect

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 1:07am PST

mary pickfordIn what now looks like a prescient move, silent screen legend Mary Pickford paid for the preservation of her films, ensuring that most of them endured. The effort spared 40 of her movies from being among the casualties of time and neglect that are represented in a new survey by the Library of Congress. The report, The Survivial Of American Silent Films: 1912-1929, has found that 70% of feature-length silent films made in America have been completely lost. During the period the study voyage dans la lunecovers, 10,919 silent feature films of U.S. origin were released and only 14% of those still exist in their original 35mm format. Of those, 5% are incomplete and 11% are only available in foreign versions or lower-quality formats. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the state of America’s silent film heritage an “alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record.” Martin Scorsese weighed in about the findings, saying the report was “invaluable because the artistry of silent film is essential to our culture.” Scorsese’s Hugo was a tribute to the silent era, incorporating Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which the Cannes Film Festival screened in an impressively restored version a few years back. It was also at Cannes that eventual Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist began its career, a throwback to the time before the talkies.

the artistContributing factors to the staggering loss of silent films are the vulnerability of nitrate film stock to fire and deterioration, and the industry’s practice of neglecting or destroying prints and negatives, the Library of Congress says. Among some of the notable films considered lost in their complete form are Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight (1927); The Patriot (1928); Cleopatra (1917); The Great Gatsby (1926), and all four of Clara Bow’s feature films produced in 1928, including Ladies Of The Mob. Meanwhile, only five of Will Rogers’ 16 silent features survive and 85% of films by Hollywood’s first cowboy star, Tom Mix, are lost. Read More »

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