The Matrix, Slacker And Dirty Harry Among 25 Films Newly Inducted Into Library Of Congress

It’s the cinematic equivalent of the New Years’ honours list, wherein the United States National Film Preservation Board annually announce 25 more films set for preservation under the watch of the National Film Registry.

Here’s the new list, in alphabetical order. I have included clips or trailers where available, and sometimes, the whole film.

3:10 To YumaDelmer Daves, 1957

  • The classic Western based on a short story by Elmore Leonard.
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Anatomy of a MurderOtto Preminger, 1959

  • A taboo-breaking courtroom drama with a fantastic performance from James Stewart.
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The AugustasScott Nixon, 1930s-50s

  • Home movie footage of numerous American towns called Augusta filmed by a travelling salesman on the road.

Born YesterdayGeorge Cukor, 1950

  • Another take on the Pygmalion story but often very funny. Judy Holliday’s performance is once seen, never forgotten.
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Breakfast at Tiffany’sBlake Edwards, 1961

  • Perennial bank holiday viewing. Pretty much defines the popular image of Audrey Hepburn.
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A Christmas StoryBob Clark, 1983

  • Charming and nostalgic Christmas movie that I really wish I could get the UK to click with a little more.
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The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title FightEnoch J. Rector, 1897

  • In 1897 this was easily the longest film produced to date at 100 minutes. Shows the entire fight as promised in the title. Prize fighting wasn’t legal everywhere, but this film was…
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Dirty HarryDon Siegel, 1971

  • The quintessential bad cop who gets results.
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Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2Nathaniel Dorsky, 1980-82

  • Described as a silent tone poem and planned for exhibition at a slow, jittery frame rate. I have never seen this avant garde film. Unsurprisingly, nobody seems to have uploaded any of it to the web, either.

The Kidnappers FoilMelton Barker, 1930s-50s

  • A series films made locally with local children as the stars for exhibition in that neighbourhood, produced by a touring company. A business model for cinema that is long, long gone. You can find several versions excerpted here and there on the web.
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Kodachrome Color Motion Picture TestsJohn Capstaff, 1922

  • Made to demonstrate an early colour process by Kodak.
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A League of Their OwnPenny Marshall, 1992

  • Penny Marshall’s comedy about an all-woman baseball team. Features Madonna in an acting role and Tom Hanks is often up front, but the film belongs to Geena Davis.
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The Matrix - Andy and Lana Wachwoski, 1999

  • Incredibly popular mash-up of stylistic ideas and sci-fi tropes that seemingly came out of nowhere.
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The Middleton Family at the New York World’s FairRobert R. Snody, 1939

  • Made as a promo for the Westinghouse Electric Corp. and their products at the New York World’s Fair. There’s a dishwashing contest that I’ll never forget, as well as a robot with a filthy habit. Here’s the whole film -
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One Survivor Remembers - Kary Antholis, 1995

  • The testimony of Gerta Weismann Klein, one human story of the Holocaust. Here’s the full film, with images of Nazi atrocities from the outset.
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ParableRolf Forsberg and Tom Rook, 1964

  • Another film screened at the World’s Fair – this time in 1965. There’s no dialogue and a lot of surrealist imagery. This film has a Christian message and was made for the Lutheran Council. Features Tom Erhart who went on the be in The Blues Brothers.

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Samsara: Death and Rebirth in CambodiaEllen Bruno, 1990

  • Designed to portray death from a Cambodian point of view by American director, Ellen Bruno. Appears to have been renamed Survival and Recovery of late. Cinematography by the great Ellen Kuras.
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SlackerRichard Linklater, 1991

  • Linklater’s first commercially released film is a daisy-chain of conversations and half-digested philosophical ruminations. Sometimes pretty funny and stuffed with pop-culture references.
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Sons of the DesertWilliam A. Seiter, 1933

  • A Laurel and Hardy comedy. Here’s the full thing.
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The Spook Who Sat by the DoorIvan Dixon, 1973

  • An action thriller about the first black CIA agent using his skills to train insurgents on the streets and turning their “riots into revolutions.”
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They Call It Pro FootballJohn Hentz, 1967

  • Looks to me like an explanation of American football. Perhaps I should watch it. Here’s the whole thing.
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The Times of Harvey Milk - Rob Epstein, 1984

  • A documentary about the first openly homsexual American to win office, addressing both his career and assassination. The whole thing can be seen at Hulu.
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Two-Lane BlacktopMonte Hellman, 1971

  • Almost definitely 1971. An existential drama about car racing and a great piece of Americana.
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Uncle Tom’s Cabin - William Robert Daly, 1914

  • One of the most filmed stories of the silent era, this version has been named as the first “white” film to have a black star. Here’s the whole thing.
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The Wishing Ring: An Idyll of Old EnglandMaurice Toruneur, 1914

  • A romance with elements of fantasy or magic realism. Despite the title, the film was shot in New York by a French director.

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A remarkable list, once again. There’s a few on there I haven’t seen – Samsara, Pro Football, The Wishing Ring – but now I at least know how I can as any of these films can be viewed at The National Library of Congress in Washington DC by those with a reader’s card. You do, however, have to book ahead.

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