Empire Strikes Back, Airplane! and The Exorcist Chosen by Library of Congress
The Librarian of Congress has named the annual list of 25 motion pictures selected for preservation as part of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The Empire Strikes Back, Airplane, The Exorcist, The Pink Panther and McCabe and Mrs. Miller are just a few of the films selected for 2010.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.
Spanning the period 1891-1996, the films named to the registry range from a rare glimpse of San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake and the political thriller All the President’s Men to George Lucas’ student film in 1967 and his sci-fi special-effects extravaganza The Empire Strikes Back. Also included in the registry are lesser-known, but culturally vital films such as the black independent film Cry of Jazz, Luis Valdez’s I Am Joaquin and John Huston’s war documentary Let There Be Light, which was banned by the War Department for 35 years. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 550.
"As the nation’s repository of American creativity, the Library of Congress—with the support of the U.S. Congress—must ensure the preservation of America’s film patrimony," said Billington. "The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority because about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920 have been lost to future generations."
Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public (this year 2,112 films were nominated) and having extensive discussions with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion-picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website (www. loc.gov/film).
For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/). The Packard Campus is funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute and is home to more than six million collection items. The facility provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board and the National Registries for film and recorded sound.
2010 National Film Registry
Airplane! emerged in 1980 as a sharply perceptive parody of the big-budget disaster films that dominated Hollywood during the 1970s. Characterized by a freewheeling style reminiscent of comedies of the 1920s, Airplane! introduced a much-needed deflating assessment of the tendency of theatrical film producers to push successful formulaic movie conventions beyond the point of logic. One of the film’s most noteworthy achievements was to cast actors best known for careers in melodrama productions, e.g., Leslie Nielsen, and provide them with opportunities to showcase their comic talents.
All the President’s Men (1976)