2017 Additions To National Film Registry

“Is this Heaven?” Well, it is if you love Field of Dreams as much as I do. Or liked Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Disney’s Dumbo, or The Goonies. All are motion pictures on the list of 2017 additions to the National Film Registry announced today.

1. Ace in the Hole (1951)
2. Boulevard Nights (1979)
3. Die Hard (1988)
4. Dumbo (1941)
5. Field of Dreams (1989)
6. 4 Little Girls (1997)
7. Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection (1920s and ’30s)
8. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
9. The Goonies (1985)
10. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
11. He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
12. Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street (1905)
13. La Bamba (1987)
14. Lives of Performers (1972)
15. Memento (2000)
16. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
17. The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918)
18. Spartacus (1960)
19. Superman (1978)
20. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
21. Time and Dreams (1976)
22. Titanic (1997)
23. To Sleep With Anger (1990)
24. Wanda (1971)
25. With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1937-38)

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said–

The selection of a film to the National Film Registry recognizes its importance to American cinema and the nation’s cultural and historical heritage. Our love affair with motion pictures is a testament to their enduring power to enlighten, inspire and inform us as individuals and a nation as a whole.  Being tasked with selecting only 25 each year is daunting because there are so many great films deserving of this honor.

Here are the official descriptions of the items of genre interest:

Dumbo (1941)

Disney’s charming, trademark animation finds a perfect subject in this timeless tale of a little elephant with oversize ears who lacks a certain confidence until he learns — with the help of a friendly mouse — that his giant lobes enable him to fly. Disney’s fourth feature film gained immediate classic status thanks to its lovely drawing, original score (which would go on to win the Oscar that year) and enduring message of always believing in yourself.

Field of Dreams (1989)

Iowa farmer Kevin Costner one day hears a voice telling him to turn a small corner of his land into a baseball diamond: “If you build it, they will come.”  “They” are the 1919 Black Sox team led by the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson. Although ostensibly about the great American pastime, baseball here serves as a metaphor for more profound issues. Leonard Maltin lauded “Field of Dreams” as “a story of redemption and faith, in the tradition of the best Hollywood fantasies with moments of pure magic.”

The Goonies (1985)  

The fingerprints of executive producer Steven Spielberg visibly mark every second of “The Goonies,” with the plot sporting a narrative structure and many themes characteristic of his work. Spielberg penned the original story, hand-selected director Richard Donner and hired Chris Columbus (who had written the 1983 “Gremlins”) to do the offbeat screenplay. With its keen focus on kids of agency and adventure, “The Goonies” protagonists are Tom Sawyeresque outsiders on a magical treasure hunt, and the story lands in the continuum between where “Our Gang” quests leave off and the darker spaces of Netflix’s recent “Stranger Things” pick up.

Superman (1978)

Director Richard Donner’s treatment of the famous superhero was not the first time the character had been on the big screen. Kirk Alyn played the role back in a 1948 serial and George Reeves appeared in both theatrical and TV versions in the 1950s. However, for many, Christopher Reeve remains the definitive Man of Steel. This film, an “origins” story, recounts Superman’s journey to Earth as a boy, his move from Smallville to Metropolis and his emergence as a true American hero. Beautiful in its sweep, score and special effects, which create a sense of awe and wonder, “Superman” — as the tag line reads — makes you “believe a man can fly.”

The Librarian made the annual registry selections after conferring with members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) and a cadre of Library specialists, and considering the 5,200 titles nominated by the public.

The Library also announced that 64 motion pictures, previously named to the National Film Registry, are now freely available online here, among them the cartoon “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor”.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Field of Dreams…

By James H. Burns: I’m surprised when some people don’t realize that Field of Dreams is a time travel movie. To me, it’s one of the best (and I suspect there still a great number of genre, and other fans, who simply have never seen it.) Baseball, in fact, is only one of the film’s many remarkable facets, with a particularly strong set of sequences with James Earl Jones (“WHO is Moonlight Grahm?”) I’m pretty sure I mention some of this in a podcast special tribute to Field’s 25th anniversary, put together by Craig Jamison, also featuring commentary by fantasy illustrator Adam Hughes, and the eminent science fiction movie and film music historian/journalist Steve Vertlieb.

Intriguingly, Jamison has been busy shooting a documentary about Vertlieb for well over a year, entitled The Man Who Saved The Movies, previews of which (including footage with Ray Bradbury and Veronica Carlson) can be found all over the web, and on YouTube.

Last Unicorn Tour Arrives in Big Apple

Peter Beagle and Connor Cochran.

Peter Beagle and Connor Cochran.

After making its way north from Virginia via New Jersey and Pennsylvania, The Last Unicorn movie tour plays New York City this weekend. The four showings are scheduled for —

TODAY @ 7 PM — Village East in Manhattan on 2nd Avenue
Saturday 9/28/2013, 2 PM — Cinemas 123 in Manhattan on 3rd Avenue
Sunday 9/29/2013, 7 PM — Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers in Yonkers NY
Monday 9/30/2013, 7 PM — City Cinemas 86th Street East in Manhattan on 86th Street

“Peter will be at every screening to do a Q&A session, sign things, give hugs and great conversation,” says Connor Cochran, “and he’ll stay as long as it takes for every last person there to get their proper turn with him.”

Peter Beagle, ready to hit the road.

Peter Beagle, ready to hit the road.

One of the most interesting places to host the movie in the past week was the Strand Theatre in the college town of Kutztown, PA:

The Strand is pure history, over 100 years old and cobbled together from bits and pieces of other local movie theaters that went out of business over the decades. Yet inside we found one of the newest, nicest projection and sound systems we’ve yet to work with.

The Last Unicorn actually played there during its original release in 1982. The classic old theater marquee reminds me of the one shown in Field of Dreams just before Ray Kinsella finds Doc Graham.

Strand
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]