December 17, 2015 National Film Registry Titles Featured in January
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Rob Stone (202) 707-0851
Feature films and short subjects named to the National Film Registry for posterity will be showcased at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, in January. Dating from 1912 to 1994, these films have been named to the registry because of their cultural, historic and/or aesthetic significance.
Several of the features being screened, including “Winchester ‘73,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Top Gun” and “Hail the Conquering Hero” were named to the most recent annual selection of 25 motion pictures chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry, which was announced on Dec. 16. For more information on the National Film Registry, visit loc.gov/film.
Film historian Scott Eyman—who has written biographies of John Ford and John Wayne—will be on hand to introduce two classic Westerns directed by Ford. The first is from the beginning of Ford’s decades-long career, the silent epic “The Iron Horse.” The second was produced toward the end of his career, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” (1962) starring John Wayne and James Stewart.
Silent film accompanist Ben Model will perform for a double-feature screening of “A Fool There Was,” starring Theda Bara in her first major role (named to this year’s National Film Registry) and the Thomas Ince production “The Italian.” He also will provide musical accompaniment at an evening of silent-short comedies from the National Film Registry.
Short subjects will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice. Screenings at the Packard Campus are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section.
All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during regular business hours. For further information on the theater and film series, visit loc.gov/avconservation/theater/. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before showtime to confirm cancellations.
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 (loc.gov/avconservation). The Packard Campus is home to more than 7 million collection items. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board (loc.gov/film), the National Recording Preservation Board (loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb) 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, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at loc.gov.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater ScheduleFriday, Jan. 8 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Iron Horse” (Fox, 1924)
John Ford’s epic Western “The Iron Horse” established his reputation as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished directors. Intended by Fox to rival Paramount’s 1923 epic “The Covered Wagon,” Ford’s film employed more than 5,000 extras, advertised authenticity in its attention to realistic detail, and provided Ford with the opportunity to create iconic visual images of the Old West, inspired by such master painters as Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. A tale of national unity achieved after the Civil War through the construction of the transcontinental railroad, “The Iron Horse” celebrated the contributions of Irish, Italian and Chinese immigrants—although the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country legally was severely restricted at the time of its production. A classic silent film, “The Iron Horse” introduced to American and world audiences a reverential, elegiac mythology that has influenced many subsequent Westerns. Scott Eyman, author of “Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford,” will introduce the film and Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment. The print is courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art. “The Iron Horse” was named to the National Film Registry in 2011.
Saturday, Jan. 9 (2 p.m.)
“Winchester ‘73” (Universal, 1950)
Actor Jimmy Stewart collaborated with director Anthony Mann on eight films during the 1950s. Most renowned was an influential series of five taut psychological Westerns from 1950-55 with themes of hidden secrets, vengeance, shifting personal morals and concepts of heroism. The movie “Winchester ’73” launched their partnership. Stewart’s obsessive quests are to avenge the death of his father and pursue a Winchester rifle as it moves from one owner to the next, changing everyone into whose hands the gun briefly passes, and culminating in a justly-famous shootout amid steep, rocky terrain. The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.
Saturday, Jan. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (Paramount, 1962)
John Ford, a filmmaker since 1914, already had given the movie-going public such classics as “The Iron Horse,” “Stagecoach,” “My Darling Clementine,” “Fort Apache,” “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” and “The Searchers.” Ford’s last great Western, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” makes explicit everything that was implicit in the genre that Ford heavily shaped. By clearly showing that the conquest of the West meant the triumph of civilization (embodied in Jimmy Stewart) over wild innocence (John Wayne) and evil (Lee Marvin), this elegiac film serves as a film coda for Ford and also meditates on what was lost as progress and statehood marched across the West. Scott Eyman, author of “Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford” and New York Times bestseller “John Wayne: The Life and Legend,” will introduce the film.
Thursday, Jan. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
A Selection of Sound Shorts on the National Film Registry
In addition to the better-known Hollywood features on the National Film Registry, a surprising number of short subjects are included among the 675 titles that have been selected as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” films since the registry’s inception in 1989. This program will be a sampling of shorts from the various categories, including animation (Warner Bros.’ “Duck Amuck,” 1953), educational (Disney’s “The Story of Menstruation,” 1946) and experimental (Su Friedrich’s autobiographical “Sink or Swim,” 2002).
Friday, Jan. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Silent Film Double Feature
“A Fool There Was” (Fox, 1915)
The phenomenal success of “A Fool There Was”—based on a Rudyard Kipling poem and a subsequent play—set off a publicity campaign unparalleled at the time centering on its star, an unknown actress bearing the exotic name of Theda Bara. Bara was promoted as “the woman with the most beautifully wicked face in the world” and became filmdom’s quintessential “vamp,” enticing male pillars of society to relinquish family, career, respectable society, and even life itself, while yearning to remain under her entrancing spell. Bara retired from the screen four years later after starring in some 40 films, establishing a new genre, and helping Fox become an industry leader. Only one other film from her heyday is known to exist as well as two she made during an attempted comeback in the mid-1920s. The film has been preserved by the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment. “A Fool There Was” was named to the National Film Registry in 2015.
“The Italian” (Paramount. 1915)
Produced and co-written by Thomas Ince and directed by Reginald Barker, “The Italian” stars George Beban—a celebrated theatrical actor known for his portrayals of Italian characters—as an immigrant whose experience falls far short of the American Dream. Beban’s stage experience and personal appeal translated well to the screen and he mastered the nuances of film acting better than many of his contemporaries. Characteristic of Ince’s film style, “The Italian” is an epic production of opulent sets and costumes expertly and inventively photographed. Ince’s influence on cinema also surfaces in the film’s less-structured and rigid technique, a counterpoint to the more formal “classical” style employed by directors such as D.W. Griffith. “The Italian” was added to the National Film Registry in 1991.
Saturday, Jan. 23 (2 p.m.)
Silent Comedy Shorts from the National Film Registry (1912-1928)
Silent film comedy historian Steve Massa will present an evening of rollicking short-comedy films that are on the National Film Registry. The lineup includes “A Cure For Pokeritis” (1912), starring John Bunny in one of his “domestic” comedies, in which he portrays a henpecked husband alongside co-star Flora Finch; Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle at the height of his fame in “Fatty’s Tintype Tangle” (1915); Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy attempting to sell Christmas trees in sunny California in “Big Business” (1928); “Cops” (1922), considered to be one of Buster Keaton’s best short films; “Mighty Like a Moose” (1926), a comedy of mistaken identity, starring Charley Chase and Vivien Oakland; and “Pass the Gravy” (1928), starring Max Davison trying to make peace with his future son-in-law’s family. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.
Saturday, Jan. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
“Ruggles of Red Gap” (Paramount, 1935)
Charles Laughton, known for such serious roles as Nero, King Henry VIII and later as the 1935 Captain Bligh, takes on comedy in this tale of an English manservant won in a poker game by American Charlie Ruggles, a member of Red Gap, Washington’s extremely small social elite. Laughton, in understated valet fashion, worriedly responds: “North America, my lord. Quite an untamed country I understand.” However, once in America, he finds not uncouth backwoodsmen, but rather a more egalitarian society that soon has Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address, catching the American spirit and becoming a successful businessman. Aided by comedy stalwarts ZaSu Pitts and Roland Young, Laughton really shows his acting range and pulls off comedy perfectly. It didn’t hurt that Leo McCarey, who had just worked with W.C. Fields and would next guide Harold Lloyd, was in the director’s chair. McCarey, who could pull heartstrings or touch funny bones with equal skill, started his long directorial career working with such comedy icons as Laurel & Hardy and created several beloved American films. “Ruggles of Red Gap” was named to the National Film Registry in 2014.
Friday, Jan. 29 (7:30 p.m.)
“McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (Warner Bros., 1971, R-rated *)
“McCabe and Mrs. Miller” is an aesthetically acclaimed film that demonstrates why the Western genre, especially when reinvented by director Robert Altman, endured in the 20th century as a useful model for critically examining the realities of contemporary American culture. The landscape and characters converge in the role of the film’s production. Altman had the set built from scratch according to specific historical parameters. Cast and crew lived in the buildings, which gradually emerged as the town of Presbyterian Church. The film’s credits include notable cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and a music score by Leonard Cohen, as well as performances by Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, who received an Academy Award nomination for best actress for her performance. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” was named to the National Film Registry in 2010.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, Jan. 30 (2 p.m.)
“Hail the Conquering Hero” (Paramount, 1944)
Writer-director Preston Sturges probably was the only filmmaker in Hollywood in the 1940s who could satirize the worship of war heroes and mothers during wartime. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times credited the success of this film to its “sharpness of verbal wit and the vigor of visual expression” and the ability of Sturges to temper “irony with pity.” Nominated for an Academy Award for the best original screenplay category, “Hail the Conquering Hero” follows the foibles of a would-be war hero dismissed from active duty because of chronic hay fever and enlisted by a group of Marines to return home as the war hero that he has pretended to be in letters to his mother. The lightning-paced plot that develops upon his return offers Sturges—a budding “Hollywood Voltaire” in Crowther’s eyes—myriad opportunities to spoof corruption in small town politics as well as the propensity to idolize the military. The great French critic André Bazin called this film “a work that restores to American film a sense of social satire that I find equaled only ... in Chaplin’s films.” The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2015.
Saturday, Jan. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
“Top Gun” (Paramount, 1986)
The Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production comprises a deft portrait of mid-1980s America, when politicians promised “Morning in America Again,” and singers crooned “God Bless the U.S.A.” The U.S. Navy, for one, did not complain: applications to naval aviation schools soared in part as a result of this relentless, pulsating film famed for its vertiginous fighter-plane sequences. Scott, always most at home when crafting slick, visually arresting action-set pieces with distinctive flair, delivers on all fronts. Among others, director Christopher Nolan has highlighted “Top Gun” for the clear influence of the film’s celebrated visual style on future filmmakers. Tom Cruise here graduated to the top echelon of in-demand actors, aided by his good looks, cocky attitude, omnipresent smile, and wooing of civilian instructor Kelly McGillis. “Top Gun” was named to the National Film Registry in 2015.
Sunday, Jan. 31 (2 p.m.)
“The Shawshank Redemption” (Columbia, 1994 – R-rated *)
From a modest start as a critical success, but something of a commercial bust upon initial release, “The Shawshank Redemption” now often rates as the top film in Internet Movie Database polling. Like many Stephen King novels and stories, it was adapted to film, but, as some critics have noted, the best movies have arguably resulted from the non-horror part of King’s literary output. Banker Tim Robbins is wrongly convicted of the double murder of his wife and her lover. However, he spends much of his prison sentence beset by guilt over whether he contributed to her infidelity and consumed by the knowledge that he had seriously contemplated murdering her. Eventually, Robbins decides he must “get busy living or get busy dying” and plots a meticulous, long-term plan for escape. Critics have struggled at times to explain the immense public affection for “Shawshank,” but perhaps it’s due to the poignant Thomas Newman score and most importantly the moving character portrayals and deep friendship between inmates Robbins and Morgan Freeman, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2015.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.