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.]

2 thoughts on “2017 Additions To National Film Registry

  1. I’ve seen some of these. The one that shows the interior of the NYC subway was particularly interesting—the route was pretty much finished, but not finished off, and they ran a subway chassis with every light they could put on top of it, and that gave enough light for the camera. I seem to recall that it was in two or three (three sticks in mind) chunks, and I found it while poking through the American Memory section of the Library of Congress’s webpage.

    DUMBO’s a winner. Walt Kelly even gets a screen credit on that one. He wasn’t there for all that long. MEMENTO is pretty amazing: almost SFnal, but nothing in it depends on genre props. I saw it as a class assignment when we were studying Hamlet. Christopher Reeve can be the best Superman: I still think George Reeves’s personation of Clark Kent is one of the great characters. He was The Man With A Secret Joke On All Of Us. “Clark, are you coming with us?” (Clark turns to the camera with a conspiratorial half smile.) “I’ll be right there, Lois!”

    Oh, and The Sinking of the Lusitania is one of Winsor McCay’s hand-drawn animations, showing his amazing draftsmanship. I expect he didn’t even refer to models—he was a lusus naturae, no less than Mozart or Bob McKimson (whose animation was done fast and in ink, described by amazed witnesses as seeming to ink drawings only he could see). Once McCay arrived to find the editor of his paper in despair over not having a photo of some new piece of fire equipment, and he sat down and drew it, having passed it on his way to the office. I once saw some of his original Little Nemo pages, and could see no sign of erasure or correction on any of them, except one where the artist had apparently spilled an ink pot, and fixed the spatters with the usual white paint that was indispensable to artists in those days. Just as if he was inking pencil drawings nobody but him could see.

    ps: ACE IN THE HOLE is on TCM in just over two hours. I’ll be trying to record it.

  2. Speaking of the John Williams score of Superman, I just happened to hear part of a rendition of one of John Williams’ scores for one of the Star Wars movies (perhaps the latest one?) and I have to say I am starting to think that upon reflection his score for Superman was superior to the score of the first Star Wars movie. Okay, I may be wrong, so sue me!

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