Tuesday, January 5, 2010

25 for the History Books

Posted By on 01.05.10 at 02:44 PM

JEZEBEL2.JPG

Every year the Library of Congress selects 25 films for preservation in the National Film Registry, based on their value as "cultural, artistic, and historical treasures." James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, recently announced the list for 2009; among the inductees are Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Kent Mackenzie's The Exiles (1961), Jack Arnold's The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), William Wyler's Jezebel (1938) and Mrs. Miniver (1942), Rouben Mamoulian's The Mark of Zorro (1940), Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Michael Gordon's Pillow Talk (1959), William Wellman's The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), and, in honor of Michael Jackson, John Landis's 1983 video for Thriller.

But as usual, the more obscure items are probably the ones most in need of preservation. This year's batch also includes Heroes All (1920), a documentary by the American Red Cross that shows soldiers from World War I convalescing at Walter Reed Hospital; Hot Dogs for Gaugin (1972), a student film by Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop, Scent of a Woman) featuring a young Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman; The Jungle (1967), a 22-minute documentary shot on the streets of Philadelphia by street-gang members; Mabel's Blunder (1914), a short directed by and starring the pioneering female screen comedienne Mabel Normand; Precious Images (1986, see below), a cinematic montage by Oscar regular Chuck Workman; Quasi at the Quackadero (1975), a cult animation by Sally Cruikshank; The Red Book (1994), an experimental animation by Janie Geiser; and Stark Love (1927), a hillbilly melodrama shot on location in the Appalachian mountains by Karl Brown.

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