Tag Archives: National Film Registry

From the National Film Registry: “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) | Now See Hear! | Library of Congress

October 19, 2022 by Cary O’Dell

from article…

Eighty-three years ago, on October 19, 1939, the Capra classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” had its debut in–where else?–Washington, DC.  Named by the Librarian of Congress to the Library’s National Film Registry in 1989, “Mr. Smith” is, for better or worse, as timely today as it ever was.  In the essay below, the late film scholar Robert Sklar looks back at one of America’s greatest films.

In the late 1930s, more securely atop the pinnacle of American cinema than the Hollywoodland sign, Frank Capra could afford to be bold. Over a five–year span he had won three Academy Awards as best director, for “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936) and “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938). The First and last of these titles had also been picked as best picture. In 1939 he ended a four–year term as Academy president and assumed leadership of the new Screen Directors Guild. Ambitious and apparently unassailable, he was able to launch a project that others had tried but failed to get off the ground: a controversial story involving corruption in the United States Senate, released in 1939 as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Years later, in his 1971 autobiography “The Name Above the Title,” Capra related a tale about a visit he supposedly received, when he had fallen ill follow[sic] his first Academy Award, from a mysterious “little man … completely bald, wearing thick glasses” who admonished him to his artistry for higher purposes than screwball comedy. “Mr. Deeds” was the first of the more serious endeavors that followed. Then came, among others, “Mr. Smith,” “Meet John Doe” (1941) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946).  These are among the most honored and cherished works in America’s film heritage. Yet they also strike many viewers as ambiguous and troubling.

Among Hollywood’s most significant filmmakers, Capra’s reputation is surely the most contested. His four major titles on political and social themes – “Deeds,” “Smith,” “Doe,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” – are instantly recognizable for similarities of style, story, and character that, taken together, add up to a unique signature. What some call “Capraseque,” however, others not so flatteringly label “Capricorn.” The films feature naïve, small–town idealists fighting against the ruthless power of political machines, media barons, capitalist predators, and urban elites. Defeated and humiliated, these over-matched innocents are rescued by the moral might on an aroused community, but the otherwise powerless little people whose united support acclaims the downcast heroes as natural leaders. Uplifting and sentimental, Capra’s political films seem to offer a consoling myth of national character that has captivated audiences over generations. At the same time, they’ve been attacked as conformist, demagogic, manipulative, phony.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

The late Robert Sklar was a member of the National Film Preservation Board as well as a film scholar and author of the 1975 book “Movie-Made America.”

Don’t hesitate to contact Ask a Librarian (//ask.loc.gov/) about the availability of materials or any other items in our collections. Before you plan to come in and view any collection items, please get in touch with our reference staff in the Moving Image Research Center (//www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/).

The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

Source: https://blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hear/2022/10/from-the-national-film-registry-mr-smith-goes-to-washington-1939/

Asking Your Opinion: National Film Registry | Now See Hear!

August 3, 2022 by Stacie Seifrit-Griffin

I am happy to say that I work with some of the most fascinating, brilliant and passionate people that I’ve ever known. The halls here at the Library of Congress National Audio-Video Conservation Center are abuzz every day with discussions about movies, directors, cinematography, casting decisions, and opinions about what is the greatest film of all time. (You can add your thoughts in the comments).

from article…

The most-lively debates revolve around the National Film Registry.

Second to Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, I think I have one of the greatest jobs at the Library. An important part of my role is working with the National Film Preservation Board to research and recommend works to the Librarian for induction into the National Film Registry.

Source: https://blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hear/2022/08/need-your-opinion-national-film-registry/?loclr=eanshb

“Top Gun” — The Library of Congress Keeps Receipts | Library of Congress Blog

By Neely Tucker, June 1, 2022

Tom Cruise, the first time around, in a publicity still from “Top Gun.” Photo: Paramount Pictures.

“Top Gun: Maverick” took your breath away, did it?

The sequel to the 1986 blockbuster is, if anything, a bigger hit than the original. The film, in which Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, took in a Memorial Day weekend record of an estimated $156 million at the box office.

Fighter jets, “Danger Zone” and popcorn. Good times.

Your friendly national library is making sure this cinematic love affair is preserved on several fronts, particularly with the first film. We were mildly surprised at just how many.

First, the Library’s National Film Registry’s class of 2015 added the original to the the Library’s list of “culturally, historically or aesthetically” important films worthy of national preservation. Second, it turns out the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center has the original 35mm movie film print. The real reels!

Third, the Music Division has the commercial sheet music for the film’s songs, which might be expected, but also (unexpectedly) has the gold-record award given to Tom Whitlock for cowriting, among other hits on the soundtrack, “Take My Breath Away.”

Source: “Top Gun” — The Library of Congress Keeps Receipts | Library of Congress Blog

National Film Registry: Remembering William Hurt (1950-2022) | Now See Hear!

By Stacie Seifrit-Griffin, March 14th, 2022

From article…

Yesterday we learned of the passing of William Hurt, and today, internet, cable and even broadcast news will be filled with stories of his award-winning career spanning over 50 years and over 100 credits.

Hurt holds a respected place in cinema for being nominated for the best actor Oscar for three consecutive years; “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in 1986, “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987 and “Broadcast News” in 1988.

“Broadcast News” was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2018.

In honor of William Hurt, we look back on “Broadcast News” with an essay from Brian Scott Mednick. Ask anyone that’s ever worked in a newsroom, especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and they will tell you that the performances by William Hurt, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and Jack Nicholson are flawless.

Broadcast News (1987

With the 24/7 news cycle we’ve become accustomed to over the last several decades, the 1980s seems like a lifetime ago with respect to how television news was both reported and consumed. “Broadcast News,” released in December 1987, is a time capsule of that period, which was a simpler, less volatile era when we trusted three guys named Dan, Tom, and Peter to give us a half-hour recap of the day’s pivotal events at dinnertime.

“Broadcast News,” written, produced, and directed by James L. Brooks, is one the smartest films ever made about show business and the media, a savagely funny, sophisticated, and poignant story about three people who are as ambitious and determined as they are diffident and vulnerable.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: National Film Registry: Remembering William Hurt (1950-2022) | Now See Hear!

National Film Registry: Celebrating “Casablanca” (1942) | Now See Hear! | Library of Congress

March 2, 2022 by Stacie Seifrit-Griffin

It almost seems hard to believe that it was 80 years ago in 1942 that “Casablanca” was first released, and the world fell in love with its tale of courage, sacrifice and redemption.

On March 2, 1944 at the 16th Academy Awards, “Casablanca” took home the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz) and Best Screenplay (Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch).

In total, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Humphrey Bogart); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Claude Rains); Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Film Editing; and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

From article…

As time goes by (I couldn’t resist), the film’s memorable lines still make “Casablanca” one of Hollywood’s most quoted and beloved films of all time.

“Casablanca” was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1989, one of the first 25 films added in the Registry’s inaugural year.

Today, we look back at “Casablanca” with a thought-provoking essay from Jay Carr given to the Library of Congress from “The A List: The National Society of Film Critics’ 100 Essential Films, 2002.” He touches on the film’s backstory, the cast, those famous lines, and why we still watch it every time it’s on.

Here’s looking at you, kid…

Casablanca
By Jay Carr

It’s still the same old story. Maybe more so. “Casablanca” was never a great film, never a profound film.

It’s merely the most beloved movie of all time. In its (now 80 year) history, it has resisted the transmogrification of its rich, reverberant icons into camp. It’s not about the demimondaines washing through Rick’s Café Americain – at the edge of the world, at the edge of hope – in 1941.

Ultimately, it’s not even about Bogey and Ingrid Bergman sacrificing love for nobility. It’s about the hold movies have on us. That’s what makes it so powerful, so enduring. It is film’s analogue to Noel Coward’s famous line about the amazing potency of cheap music. Like few films before or since, it sums up Hollywood’s genius for recasting archetypes in big, bold, universally accessible strokes, for turning myth into pop culture.

Source: National Film Registry: Celebrating “Casablanca” (1942) | Now See Hear!