November 18, 2011 "Wizard of Oz," Christmas Classics Lead December Celebration of the National Film Registry
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Holiday classics and Oscar winners shine a spotlight on movies selected for preservation in the National Film Registry during the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation’s film festival in December. The screenings in the plush state-of-the-art theater in Culpeper, Va. will showcase such notable actors and directors as Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Charlton Heston, William Wyler, Clark Gable, Frank Capra, Judy Garland, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Cecil B. DeMille, Natalie Wood and James Stewart.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, to be preserved for all time. These films represent the diversity and richness of the American experience.
The National Film Registry is also the subject of a feature-length documentary, “These Amazing Shadows,” which will premiere on the PBS series “Independent Lens” on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings). For more information on the National Film Registry, visit www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html.
Programs during the film festival are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section. Some screenings will also include short subjects before the main feature. Titles are subject to change without notice.
All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For reservation information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during business hours, beginning one week before any given screening. Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before showtime. In case of inclement weather, call the theater reservation line no more than three hours before showtime to confirm cancellations. For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is the site where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/). The Packard Campus is home to more than 6 million collection items, including nearly 3 million sound recordings. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board, and the national registries for film and recorded sound.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.
Thursday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (20th Century-Fox, 1969)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford portray the title characters in this Western adventure about a pair of outlaws who flee to Bolivia to escape the law. The film features music by Burt Bacharach, recipient of the 2011 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Directed by George Roy Hill, the movie was selected for preservation to the National Film Registry in 2003.
Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.
“Hoosiers” (Orion, 1986)
David Anspaugh directed this drama about a troubled coach who enlists the town drunk to help him turn a high school basketball team into winners. Named to the National Film Registry in 2001, the film stars Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper.
Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.
“Ben-Hur” (MGM, 1959)
Starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins, this historical epic is about a Jewish prince who seeks revenge on a Roman friend who betrayed him. William Wyler directed the film, which was named to the National Film Registry in 2004.
Thursday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
“It Happened One Night” (Columbia, 1934)
This Oscar-winning romantic screwball comedy stars Claudette Colbert as a spoiled heiress running away from her family who falls for snooping reporter Clark Gable. Directed by Frank Capra, the film was selected for preservation to the National Film Registry in 1993.
Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.
“Taxi Driver” (Columbia, 1976, R-rated)
Martin Scorsese directed Robert De Niro as a mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran who works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York. This R-rated drama was named to the National Film Registry in 1991.
Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.
“The Cheat” (Paramount, 1915)
Guest accompanist Jon Mirsalis will provide the score for this Cecil B. DeMille dramatic feature about an extravagant socialite who embezzles $10,000 from a charity. She later turns to a Burmese ivory trader to help her replace the stolen money. Sessue Hayakawa and Fannie Ward are the lead actors in this silent film named to the National Film Registry in 1993.
Thursday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.
“This Is Spinal Tap” (Embassy Pictures, 1984, R-rated)
Rob Reiner directed and also stars in this comedy as a filmmaker who documents the history of Spinal Tap, the world's loudest rock band. Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2002, this R-rated film also stars Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer.
Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
“Back to the Future” (Universal, 1985)
Michael J. Fox stars as teenager Marty McFly, who is accidentally sent back to 1955 in a time machine invented by a wacky scientist. Robert Zemeckis directed the sci-fi adventure-comedy, also starring Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover. It was added to the National Film Registry in 2007.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m.
“The Wizard of Oz” (MGM, 1939)
Judy Garland is transported over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz where she meets Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion who help her find the Wizard who can send her home to Kansas. Victor Fleming directed this family adventure-fantasy, which was selected to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989.
Thursday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.
“Miracle on 34th Street” (20th Century-Fox, 1947)
When a department-store Santa claims to be the real thing, a young lawyer defends him in court. Directed by George Seaton, this Christmas family comedy stars Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne and Natalie Wood. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 2005.
Friday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (RKO, 1946)
Frank Capra directed this perennial favorite about an angel who shows a desperate businessman what life would have been like if he had never existed. James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore star in this Christmas classic, which was named to the National Film Registry in 1990.