We’ve lost something close to 3/4 of black and white films. It’s easy to imagine that we have all of them at our fingertips, and that they’ll be there forever, but that’s simply not the reality, and it’s a good reminder of what can happen if we’re not careful. That’s part of why the work of the National Film Registry is so vital. They ensure that a large number of time-tested films survive to test even more time.
This year, as usual, they’ve selected 25 flicks to preserve including The Matrix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dirty Harry, and A Christmas Story (which will also be preserved 24-hours a day as long as TBS still exists).
The Library of Congress has also saved Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma (1957); Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder; George Cukor’s Born Yesterday; Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own; Richard Linklater’s Slacker; the Laurel and Hardy comedy Sons of the Desert; Robert Epstein’s documentary The Times of Harvey Milk; Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop; a 1914 adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that’s thought to feature the first leading role by a black man; The Augustas (which may be the Scott Nixon compilation of towns in the US named Augusta); The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight from 1897; Nathaniel Dorsky’s experimental Hours for Jerome Part 1 & 2; the Kidnapper’s Foil films; the Kodachrome Color Motion-Picture Tests (which you can see below); Robert Snody’s The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair; Kary Antholis’ holocaust documentary One Survivor Remembers; Rolf Forsberg and Tom Rook’s Christian film Parable, which imagines Christ as a clown and the world as a circus; Ellen Bruno’s Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia; Ivan Dixon’s CIA satire The Spook Who Sat By the Door; Steve Sabol’s sport documentary They Call it Pro Football; and Maurice Tourneur’s silent film The Wishing Ring: An Idyll of Old England from 1914.
This year’s list is exceptional, showcasing some true classics, some strange choices and a handful of newer works of great importance. Plus, there’s a decent amount of diversity here — from a towering example of 90s indie cinema to groundbreaking modern sci-fi to an old school comic pairing to a non-fiction look at an important political figure. Hell, just the double feature of Holly Golightly and Dirty Harry is worth the trip. You can view the entire list of films that have made it into Movie Valhalla over the years, and then find out how to nominate films yourself. [Washington Post]