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Smith's Early Abstractions Added to National Film Registry

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington added 25 motion pictures to the National Film Registry to be preserved for all time, bringing the total number of films on the registry to 450. One of the new additions was Harry Smith's abstract animation, EARLY ABSTRACTIONS #1-5, 7, 10 (1939-56).

Smith was a painter, archivist and compiler of the landmark "Anthology of American Music" (which helped stimulate a folk and blues revival). He also was a groundbreaking avant-garde filmmaker whose revolutionary animation challenged traditional concepts of cinema. His films used batik, collage and optical printing to create a tumult of shapes and images that integrates chaos with control. Consisting of seven films made over a 17-year span, EARLY ABSTRACTIONS is a collage of abstraction, color and imagery.

Other notable films to be added to the Registry include: John Wayne's first film, THE BIG TRAIL (1930), BLAZING SADDLES (1974), FARGO (1996), GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), HALLOWEEN (1978), THE LAST COMMAND (1928), NOTORIOUS (1946), ROCKY (1976) and SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE (1989).

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress 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 Library of Congress contains the largest collections of film and television works in the world, from the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture to the latest feature releases. For more information, consult the National Film Preservation Board website at

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Rick DeMott
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