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National Film Registry selects 25 films for preservation

December 19, 2012|By Susan King

A gripping western, a beloved holiday film, a 115-year-old movie capturing a famous boxing match, a memoir of a Holocaust survivor and a visionary science-fiction thriller in which Keanu Reeves utters the word “whoa” are among the 25 films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Congress established the National Film Registry in 1989 to highlight the need to preserve U.S. film heritage. Under the conditions of the National Film Preservation Act, the librarian of Congress names 25 films yearly that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” The films must be at least 10 years old.


For the record: An article about the National Film Registry described “A League of Their Own” as being about the All American-Girls Professional Softball League. It was the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. In addition, the first name of “3:10 to Yuma” director Delmer Daves was misspelled as Delmar.


This year’s selection of films, which span the period from 1897 to 1999, brings the number of films in the registry to 600.

PHOTOS: National Film Registry selections for 2012

“These films are not selected as the best American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture,” Librarian of Congress James M. Billington said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “They reflect who we are as a people and as a nation.”

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., will work to make sure that each title is preserved for future generations either through its own preservation program or through collaborative efforts with other archives, movie studios and independent filmmakers.

The films selected for 2012 are:

“3:10 to Yuma” (1957): Delmar Daves directed this western based on a short story by Elmore Leonard.

“Anatomy of a Murder” (1959): Otto Preminger directed this courtroom thriller that made headlines for its frankness in language and adult themes.

“The Augustas” (1930s-1950s): A 16-minute film by traveling salesman Scott Nixon, who was a member of the Amateur Cinema League, chronicling some 38 streets, storefronts and cities named Augusta.

“Born Yesterday” (1950): Judy Holliday won a best actress Oscar as not-so-dumb-blonde Billie Dawn in this political satire directed by George Cukor.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961): Audrey Hepburn plays one of her quintessential roles -- the quirky Manhattan call girl Holly Golighty -- in this romantic dramedy based on Truman Capote’s novella.

“A Christmas Story” (1983): Humorist Jean Shepherd narrates this classic holiday comedy based on his memoirs of growing up in Indiana and hoping to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

“The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight” (1897): Chronicle of the famed boxing match between James J. Corbett -- aka “Gentleman Jim” -- and Bob Fitzsimmons that was held on St. Patrick’s Day in Carson City, Nev.

“Dirty Harry” (1971): Clint Eastwood introduced his iconic role as maverick San Francisco Det. Harry Callahan in Don Siegel’s influential action-thriller.

“Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2” (1980-82) : Experimental filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky’s silent tone poem.

“The Kidnappers Foil” (1930s-1950s): Dallas native Melton Barker traveled through the South and Midwest for three decades filming local kids acting, singing and dancing in two-reel films he called “The Kidnappers Foil.” A few weeks after shooting, the townspeople would get a copy of the film for screening at the local theater.

“Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests“ (1922): The two-color (greenish blue and red) film was the first publicly demonstrated color film to attract the attention of the film industry.

“A League of Their Own” (1992): Penny Marshall’s box office hit comedy about the All American-Girls Professional Softball League of the 1940s and early 1950s.

“The Matrix” (1999): Andy and Lana -- then known as Larry -- Wachowski directed this visually groundbreaking sci-fi thriller starring Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne.

“The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair” (1939): Technicolor industrial film produced for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

“One Survivor Remembers" (1995): Oscar-winning documentary short about Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein.

“Parable” (1964): The Protestant Council of New York produced this controversial, acclaimed silent allegorical Christian film for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

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