Empire Strikes Back, Airplane! and The Exorcist Chosen by Library of Congress
Based on the memoir by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about political dirty tricks in the nation’s capital, All the President’s Men is a rare example of a best-selling book that was transformed into a hit theatrical film and a cultural phenomenon in its own right.
The Bargain (1914)
After beginning his career on the stage (where he originated the role of Messala in Ben-Hur in 1899), William S. Hart found his greatest fame as the silent screen’s most popular cowboy. His 1914 "The Bargain," directed by Reginald Barker, was Hart’s first film and made him a star. The second Hart Western to be named to the National Film Registry, the film was selected because of Hart’s charisma, the film’s authenticity and realistic portrayal of the Western genre and the star’s good/bad man role as an outlaw attempting to go straight.
Cry of Jazz (1959)
Cry of Jazz is a 34-minute, black-and-white short subject that is now recognized as an early and influential example of African-American independent filmmaking. Director Ed Bland, with the help of more than 60 volunteer crew members, intercuts scenes of life in Chicago’s black neighborhoods with interviews of interracial artists and intellectuals. Cry of Jazz argues that black life in America shares a structural identity with jazz music. With performance clips by the jazz composer, bandleader and pianist Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the film demonstrates the unifying tension between rehearsed and improvised jazz. Cry of Jazz is a historic and fascinating film that comments on racism and the appropriation of jazz by those who fail to understand its artistic and cultural origins.
Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)
This 15-minute film, produced by George Lucas while a student at the University of Southern California, won the 1968 United States National Student Film Festival drama award and inspired Warner Bros. studio to sign Lucas to produce the expanded feature length THX 1138 under the tutelage of Francis Ford Coppola. This film has evoked comparisons to George Orwell’s 1984 and impressed audiences with its technical inventiveness and cautionary view of a future filled with security cameras and omnipresent scrutiny.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The much anticipated continuation of the Star Wars saga, Irvin Kershner’s 1980 sequel sustained the action-adventure and storytelling success of its predecessor and helped lay the foundation for one of the most commercially successful film series in American cinematic history.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is one of the most successful and influential horror films of all time. Its influence, both stylistically and in narrative, continues to be seen in many movies of the 21st century. The film’s success, both commercially and cinematically, provides a rare example of a popular novel being ably adapted for the big screen.
The Front Page (1931)
The Front Page is a historically significant early sound movie that successfully demonstrates the rapid progress achieved by Hollywood filmmakers in all creative professions after realizing the capabilities of sound technology to invent new film narratives. The film is based on one of the best screenplays of the 1930s by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. It was directed by Lewis Milestone and featured great performances by Pat O’Brien, Adolphe Menjou, Mary Brian, Edward Everett Horton, Walter Catlett, Mae Clark, Slim Summerville, Matt Moore and Frank McHugh.
Grey Gardens (1976)
Grey Gardens is an influential cinema verité documentary by Albert and David Maysles that has provided inspiration for creative works on the stage and in film. Through its close and sometimes disturbing look at the eccentric lives of Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, two women (cousins of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy) living in East Hampton, N.Y., the film documents a complex and difficult mother-daughter relationship and a vanished era of decayed gentility.
I Am Joaquin (1969)