National Film Registry Additions Released!
Anybody else get excited about this? The Library of Congress announced the films being added to the National Film Registry. Here are the most notable ones I recognized.
- Mary Poppins - HMMMM you think Disney had something to do with this movie being selected now....hmmm...
- Pulp Fiction
- The Right Stuff
- Magnificent Seven
- Forbidden Planet
- Judgment at Nuremberg
- Whose Afraid of Virgina Woolf
No real surprises, though I'm anxious to read up a bit on some of the lesser known films. The biggest surprise for me is realizing "Nuremberg" is Stanely Kramer's first (directorial) movie to make the cut! I thought for sure "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner" would be on the list already. I will bet you that he will have five movies on the list within the next ten years though. Especially with the National Film Registry aiming to preserve films that speak about American culture, how can films like "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner", "The Defiant Ones" and "Inherit the Wind" not make the grade at some point? And really, should "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" NOT be on this list? It should. Not before "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner", but eventually it should be there. And it needs to because our great grandchildren need to nominate "Rat Race" even if it is ONLY for Lovitz' gag at the WWII vets event, but "Mad World" has to get up their first.
[Jeff Breuer] "Mary Poppins - HMMMM you think Disney had something to do with this movie being selected now....hmmm..."
I have three words for you, Scrooge McDuck: Chim chim cheree. LOL (Best song Oscar winner, no less.) One more word: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Step in Time, Feed The Birds, Spoonful of Sugar, I Love To Laugh, The Perfect Nanny, Let's Go Fly a Kite -- that's just off the top of my head. Julie won the Oscar for Best Actress for this too.
Sound of Music is rightly considered the "film," while this one is a "movie," but it's a crime that it wasn't on the list earlier.
Right after this one in Julie's filmography is one of the great, and greatly overlooked, movies of all time, The Americanization of Emily. Phenomenal chemistry between her and James Garner (he's the American; she's Emily), AMAZING screenplay from Paddy Chayefski (Marty, Network). Nestled right in between Mary and Music, it's easy to understand how this one got lost to the sands of time...especially when you throw in a strongly satirical take on war and valor set in WW II, when One Did Not Joke About Such Things, either in 1964 in general or about The Great War in particular.
Also some great stuff about media manipulation of patriotic imagery in a patently disingenuous, maybe outright fallacious way...not surprisingly for a guy who'd write Network...but a true gem, an absolute must for Julie fans, WHICH I KNOW YOU ALL ARE, Jim Garner fans, WHICH I KNOW YOU ALL ARE, Paddy fans (maybe yes, maybe no -- he was kinda talky), and fans of anti-war, anti-media, and anti-media using phony patriotism to promote war fans.
The other two smaller gems that jump out at me from the list:
Roger & Me, ESPECIALLY for anyone who dislikes Michael Moore. It's easygoing, bordering on shambolic, and takes a bunch of surprising and emotional turns. Some of his stuff is too wrapped around ideas, but this one hangs on the personal tolls that tens of thousands of people in Flint, MI paid. It really is a personal film, more than a political one....although, obviously, with a political perspective as well, more populist than liberal. Reagan was there to a lend a hand, no less.
It's also more unambiguously humorous than many of his later movies. Nominated for an Oscar and, at the time, the highest grossing doc of all time.
Also at the time the movie was released, there were in fact no longer any movie theaters open in Flint, a town of 140,000. It's down to 100,000 now. I can't recommend this highly enough.
Midnight is an especially complicated screwballish comedy starring the luminous Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche at his most charming, from the first screenplay from the team of Billy Wilder (his first major H'wood script at all) and Charles Brackett. They'd eventually work on 13 pictures together, including Ninotchka, The Major and The Minor (Ray Milland and Ginger Rogers -- I LOVE THIS MOVIE, Billy's dir debut), ending with Sunset Blvd. Here's a great article about their collaboration.
Gorgeous cinematography by Charles Lang, too. This film was among his work featured in one my favorite docs, about cinematography, called Visions of Light. He also lensed Some Like It Hot for Wilder, How The West Was Won, and one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, The Ghost And Mrs. Muir. Over 150 movies, 17 Oscar nominations, plus a win for A Farewell To Arms, he really is one of the all-time greats.
In all, this one of those "lesser" movies that turns out to be no such thing. Not the equal of, say, Colbert's It Happened One Night, or plenty of other work by the rest of these fine folks, but put 'em all together, and you've got something special, and distinctly American.
Thanks again for the history lesson Tim! I am going to be discussing this list on an upcoming podcast. Midnight was on the top of my list of those films to check out. I watched It Happened One Night and Sunset Blvd for the first time this year, so this seems like a perfect choice for me to check out.
Also, I'm not hating on Mary Poppins getting in, I certainly believe it belongs there. But with the timing of it's nomination coming withing a week of the release of Saving Mr. Banks just serves as a reminder of how strong Disney is methinks.
I'd forgotten about Saving Mr Banks, so yeah, you're fair enough. I'm certain that there's somebody whose job is to watch for opportunities like this, and when there aren't any, to rustle some up.
What did you think about It Happened One Night? I was just realizing that when I saw it the first time, it was maybe just over 30 years old, ie, like a movie today made in 1982 or so. It still felt fresh in 1970-ish...but now, coming up on 75 years distant, how did it play for you?
I loved it! Now, to be fair, everybody has a genre they give extra points to no matter what and mine is RomComs that have a lot of heart and really make me laugh. The movie had a good flow to it and it certainly had heart and some great laughs. Also, learning about its production was just as fun as watching the movie. I especially loved that it was the first movie to WIN THE BIG 5! Remember all of our chat about comedies not getting enough love at the Oscars? I tend to agree with you on the Oscars last year, I think the Academy did a disservice in not letting Silver Linings take home the big prize, but that's another thing.
The other aspect that really made this fun was that, a week later, I watched The Philadelphia Story for the first time. They are both solid RomComs but take two very different approaches. Where One Night set the structure for the screwball RomComs, Philadelphia set up the more cerebral, ensemble RomComs. It felt a bit like watching Music & Lyrics and Love Actually in the 2010s.
It's also funny to think of somebody winning an Oscar for a part she did not want to play in a movie she thought was "the worst picture in the world." Classic.