Sf and fantasy films Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, WALL•E, and horror movies A Nightmare on Elm Street, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? are on the list of 25 movies inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress this year. Also, Hellbound Train, which includes some fantastic elements. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the selections today.
Films Selected for the 2021 National Film Registry
- Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
- Jubilo (1919)
- The Flying Ace (1926)
- Hellbound Train (1930)
- Flowers and Trees (1932)
- Strangers on a Train (1951)
- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
- Evergreen (1965)
- Requiem-29 (1970)
- The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Sounder (1972)
- The Long Goodbye (1973)
- Cooley High (1975)
- Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
- Chicana (1979)
- The Wobblies (1979)
- Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Stop Making Sense (1984)
- Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
- The Watermelon Woman (1996)
- Selena (1997)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- WALL•E (2008)
Selected for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage, the newest selections include epic trilogies, major roles for Jennifer Lopez and Cicely Tyson, extraordinary animated features, comedy and music, and films that took on racially-motivated violence against people of color decades ago. The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 825, representing a portion of the 1.7 million films in the Library’s collections.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will host a television special Friday, December 17, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern to screen a selection of motion pictures named to the registry this year. Hayden will join TCM host and film historian Jacqueline Stewart, who is chair of the National Film Preservation Board, to discuss the films. Also, select titles from 30 years of the National Film Registry are freely available online in the National Screening Room.
A few films selected for the registry drew significant public support this year through online nominations. The original Star Wars trilogy’s third release from “a galaxy far, far away” in 1983 drew the most public votes for Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.
“Little did I know when I started writing a tale about good, evil, friendship and the Force, it would become a lifelong journey of creativity, imagination and innovation for so many,” said filmmaker George Lucas. “A great honor of learning ‘Return of the Jedi’ has been included in the National Film Registry is knowing the original trilogy of the Star Wars Saga will be preserved in full as nominated by the public, safeguarded as part of our shared American Cinema heritage by our nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Film Preservation Board.”
The kickoff to another epic trilogy of films, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring from 2001, based on the beloved stories of J.R.R. Tolkien, also earned strong public support.
“In 1951, Professor Tolkien expressed the wish that ‘… other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama…’ might one day come to the world of middle-earth. And they did — actors and artists, composers and musicians, linguists and digital wizards — a myriad of talent came together to bring his vast work of imagination to life on the screen,” said the filmmaking team of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. “It is a great honor to have ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ selected this year by the National Film Registry. We are proud to be part of an archive that celebrates and preserves the art of visual storytelling, for generations to come.”
Two innovative animated features from different eras also join the registry this year. Disney’s Flowers and Trees, which was released in the dark days of the Great Depression in 1932, showcased the magic of cinema with birds singing and trees in full color. It was the first three-strip Technicolor film shown to the public and set a new standard.
Some 76 years later, Pixar Animation Studios would release a unique masterpiece with 2008’s WALL•E, combining animation, science fiction, an ecological cautionary tale and a charming robot love story. The film would go on to win the Oscar for Outstanding Animated Feature.
“Hellbound Train, a silent film from 1930, is a staunchly Christian film, made by the evangelical couple of James and Eloyce Gist. Until recently, it was an overlooked milestone in Black cinema and now joins the registry. Its obvious plot — the Gists were amateur filmmakers, using untrained actors — was to scare sinners straight. It was played in churches and fairgrounds to accompany the Gists’ sermons.
It depicts a train with each car dedicated to particular sins — dancing, drinking, adultery — being conducted by Satan himself. The print was painstakingly reassembled from more than 100 reels of 16mm at the Library by filmmaker S. Torriano Berry, preserving this early example of guerilla filmmaking carried out with a missionary zeal.
In 2013, the Library released a report that determined 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been lost forever and only 14 percent exist in their original format.
Each year the Librarian of Congress names to the National Film Registry 25 motion pictures that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. More information about the National Film Registry can be found at loc.gov/film.
The Librarian makes the annual registry selections after conferring with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board and a cadre of Library specialists. Also considered were more than 6,100 titles nominated by the public. Nominations for next year will be accepted through Aug. 15, 2022, at loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/nominate/.
The press release’s commentary on the six films named in the lede follows the jump.Continue reading