25 Classic Films To Be Preserved For Future Generations - New York News

25 Classic Films To Be Preserved For Future Generations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Mary Poppins is among 25 classic American films to be preserved for future generations.

The list was released by the Library of Congress and includes 25 films. The 1964 Disney classic starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. This announcement comes out just in time as a new film, saving Mr. Banks, will document how Walt Disney acquired the Mary Poppins story.

Curators said it was a coincidence that they selected Mary Poppins just ahead of its 50th anniversary and during the release of the new Disney film Saving Mr. Banks, which is about the making of the movie. Steve Leggett, program coordinator for the library's National Film Preservation Board, said Mary Poppins had been on the short list of picks many times before.

"It's just a title that everyone has seen and recognizes, and the musical numbers and just the Julie Andrews and the shim-shim-a-ree — it's just become a real, imbued part of our culture," he said.

The films chosen this year span from 1919 to 2002 and include Hollywood classics, documentaries, silent films, independent flicks and experimental pictures. Congress created the program in 1989 to ensure that gems from American movie history are preserved for years to come.

Some are chosen for their influence on movies that would follow, as with Pulp Fiction from 1994. The film board called it a milestone for independent cinema, and Leggett noted Tarantino's "stylized violence and kind of strangeness" in the cinematography.

Older films often become endangered of being lost, said Librarian of Congress James Billington, "so we must protect the nation's matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity."

This year's selections represent the "extreme vitality and diversity of American film heritage," Leggett said. Many illustrate American culture and society from their times, he said.

The oldest films joining the registry this year are from the silent era. They include 1920's Daughter of Dawn, which featured an all-Native-American cast of Comanche and Kiowa people, with a fictional love story and a record of Native American traditions of the time. The 1919 silent film A Virtuous Vamp, a spoof on workplace romance, made Constance Talmadge an early film star. And Ella Cinders from 1926 featured the famous actress Colleen Moore.

Earlier this month, the library released a study that found 70 percent of America's feature-length silent films have already been lost.

Other notable selections this year include the 1956 science-fiction film Forbidden Planet, which depicted humans as space travelers to another planet ahead of the real space race to the moon; the popular Western The Magnificent Seven from 1960; and the 1946 film Gilda, which is the first in the registry featuring actress Rita Hayworth. Also included is the 1966 adaptation of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starring the real-life couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The movie earned Oscar nominations for them both, a win for Taylor, and launched the screen-directing career of Mike Nichols.

Original prints of even newer movies, such as Michael Moore's Roger and Me from 1989, have become endangered. In a statement to the library, Moore said he learned last year that there were no more usable prints left of his film about the hemorrhaging of jobs at General Motors in Flint, Mich.

"Over the years, this movie has received many acknowledgements, but this is certainly the one I cherish the most," Moore said of the movie's selection for preservation. "The true regret I have is that the cities of Flint and Detroit, which are at the center of my film, are now in much worse shape — as is the American middle class in general."

Here's the full list of the additions:

  • Daughter of a Dawn
  • Forbidden Planet
  • Magnificent Seven
  • Roger & Me
  • Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
  • A Virtuous Vamp
  • Ella Cinders
  • Gilda
  • Ella Cinders
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Right Stuff
  • Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Cicero's March
  • Decasia
  • Men and Dust
  • Bless Their Little Hearts
  • Brandy in the Wilderness
  • The Hole
  • King of Jazz
  • The Lunch Date
  • Notes on the Port of St. Francis
  • The Right Stuff
  • Wild Boys of the Road
  • Heretic
  • Frontier
  • Lamentation
  • Appalachian Spring

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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