Validation by the National Film Registry, possibly better than the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, was bestowed upon that trio of hose-wielding, ectoplasm-extinguishing urban cowboys — Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis — today as the Library of Congress announced this year’s 25 selections for the vaunted Registry. The endorsement assuredly will add some cachet to the boys’ van.
The selections announced by Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao comprise a typically eclectic list spanning more than a century of image-conjuring, from Thomas Edison’s Edison Kinetoscopic Record Of A Sneeze (1894) to Curtis Hanson’s love letter to noir, L.A. Confidential (1997), starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe — and Kim Basinger in her Oscar-winning role as a sultry Veronica Lake lookalike lady of the night. Preston Struges’ never-out-of-date war satire Hail The Conquering Hero (1944), starring Eddie Bracken, made it, as did Tom Cruise’s non-satire Top Gun (1986). And speaking of satires, another selection is the Peter Sellers dark social comedy Being There (1979), from screenwriter Jerzy Kosinski and director Hal Ashby. Also included is The Shawshank Redemption, the 1994 Tim Robbins-Morgan Freeman drama via Stephen King.
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Chosen films that set the bar in their genres include the Douglas Fairbanks silent swashbuckler The Mark Of Zorro (1920); the 1929 short Black And Tan with Duke Ellington and his orchestra; Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama Imitation Of Life; and the unpronounceable Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968), an experimental film set in Central Park that anticipates such films about filmmaking as Truffaut’s Day For Night.
“Selecting a film for the National Film Registry recognizes its importance to cinema and America’s cultural and artistic history,” said Mao. “The registry is an invaluable way to advance public awareness of the richness, creativity and variety of our nation’s film heritage.”
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names to the National Film Registry 25 motion pictures that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes the annual registry selections after conferring with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board and Library film staff, as well as considering thousands of public nominations. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 675, a small fraction of the Library’s vast moving-image collection of 1.3 million items.
Here are the 25 selected films:
Being There (1979)
Black and Tan (1929)
Dracula (Spanish language version) (1931)
Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906)
Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975)
Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894)
A Fool There Was (1915)
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
Imitation of Life (1959)
The Inner World of Aphasia (1968)
John Henry and the Inky-Poo (1946)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
The Mark of Zorro (1920)
The Old Mill (1937)
Our Daily Bread (1934)
Portrait of Jason (1967)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Sink or Swim (1990)
The Story of Menstruation (1946)
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968)
Top Gun (1986)
Winchester ’73 (1950)
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