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U.S. film registry adds 25 new titles

Three of the newest entries (from top to bottom): "The Ten Commandments," "A Streetcar Named Desire," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

November 16, 1999
Web posted at: 3:29 p.m. EST (2029 GMT)

By Jamie Allen
CNN Interactive Senior Writer

In this story:

1999 registry additions

Call for preservation


(CNN) -- In a list ranging from George Romero's 1968 cult classic "Night of the Living Dead" to the Cecil B. DeMille 1956 epic "The Ten Commandments" and Steven Spielberg's 1981 "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the United States' Library of Congress has added 25 new films to the National Film Registry. The additions bring the registry's total number of films to 275.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the new additions to the list in a Tuesday press release. The film registry annually adds 25 new films. The registry was created by the 1988 National Film Preservation Act to "reflect the full breadth and diversity of America's film heritage, thus increasing public awareness of the richness of American cinema and the need for its preservation."

The diverse list of 1999 entries spans 93 years of filmmaking, from the 1896 "The Kiss" to Spike Lee's 1989 "Do the Right Thing." Films must be at least 10 years old to be considered for inclusion in the registry.

"It's a very broad-ranging list and it's meant to be that way," says David Francis, head of the Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division at the Library of Congress.

"It's really (inclusive of) films that are historically, culturally or aesthetically important in any way. It's not the Academy Awards. It's not a competitive list. It's trying to show a broad cross section of American film heritage.

"I'm very pleased to see Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing'" added this year, says Francis. "I think he's a marvelous filmmaker and it's one of his best films."

Francis says the list is chosen using a mix of public and professional feedback.

"Each year about April, we approach a large number of film critics and they encourage their readers to send these lists of favorite films," Francis says. "We analyze these lists and submit them to the National Film Preservation Board," which is made up of key members of organizations represented in the film industry.

Ultimately, Billington has the final call as Librarian of Congress.

1999 registry additions

  • "Civilization"

    Directors Raymond West and Reginald Barker, produced by Thomas Ince, 1916, 10 reels, silent, black and white

  • "Do the Right Thing"

    Director Spike Lee, 1989, produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Universal, 120 minutes, color

  • "The Docks of New York"

    Director Josef von Sternberg, produced by Famous Players-Lasky Paramount, 1928, eight reels, silent, black and white

  • "Duck Amuck"

    Director: Charles M. "Chuck" Jones, Warner Bros., 1953, seven minutes, Technicolor

  • "The Emperor Jones"

    Director Dudley Murphy, produced by Krimsky-Cochran/United Artists, 1933, 72 minutes, black and white

  • "Gunga Din"

    Director George Stevens, produced by RKO, 1939, 117 minutes, black and white

  • "In the Land of the Head Hunters" (also known as "In the Land of the War Canoes")

    Director Edward S. Curtis, produced by Seattle Film Co./World Film Co., 1914, about 50 minutes, silent, black and white

  • "Jazz on a Summer's Day"

    Director Bert Stern, produced by Raven Film/Galaxy Productions, 1959, 85 minutes, color

  • "King: A Filmed Record ... Montgomery to Memphis"

    Directors Sydney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, produced by Commonwealth United, 1970, 185 minutes, black and white

  • "The Kiss"

    Produced by Edison Mfg. Co./S. Lubin, 1896, 50 feet, silent, black and white

  • "Kiss Me Deadly"

    Director Robert Aldrich, produced by Parklane/United Artists, 1955, 105 minutes, black and white

  • "Lambchops"

    George Burns and Gracie Allen, produced by Vitaphone, 1929, eight minutes, black and white

  • "Laura"

    Director Otto Preminger, produced by 20th Century-Fox, 1944, 85 minutes, black and white

  • "Master Hands"

    Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Motor Company, 1936, 33 minutes, black and white

  • "My Man Godfrey"

    Director Gregory La Cava, produced by Universal, 1936, 95 minutes, black and white

  • "Night of the Living Dead"

    Director George Romero, produced by Image Ten/Continental, 1968, 96 minutes, black and white

  • "The Plow That Broke the Plains"

    Director Pare Lorentz, produced by Pare Lorentz/Resettlement Administration, 1936, 25 minutes, black and white

  • "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

    Director Steven Spielberg, produced by Paramount, 1981, 115 minutes, color

  • "Roman Holiday"

    Director William Wyler, Paramount, 1953, 119 minutes, black and white

  • "The Shop Around the Corner"

    Director Ernst Lubitsch, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1940, 97 minutes, black and white

  • "A Streetcar Named Desire"

    Director Elia Kazan, produced by Warner Bros., 1951, 122 minutes, black and white

  • "The Ten Commandments"

    Director Cecil B. DeMille, produced by Paramount, 1956, 219 minutes, VistaVision, Technicolor

  • "Trance and Dance in Bali"

    Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, 1938-'39, 22 minutes, black and white

  • "The Wild Bunch"

    Director Sam Peckinpah, produced by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, 1969, 148 minutes, Technicolor

  • "Woman of the Year"

    Director George Stevens, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1942, 112 minutes, black and white

    Call for preservation

    Billington is using the release of the list to promote the need for preservation of America's celluloid history.

    "Despite the heroic efforts of archives, the motion picture industry and others, America's film heritage, by any measure, is an endangered species," Billington says in his statement. "Fifty percent of the films produced before 1950 and at least 90 percent made before 1920 have disappeared forever."

    Francis says that the burgeoning field of digital filmmaking might change the need for archiving this type of storytelling.

    "Digital technology is a really worrying thing from an archivist standpoint," says Francis with a laugh. "When you read in the trade press that films are going to be beamed direct to the cinema and the only thing on celluloid will be the camera negative and possibly just a fine grain positive copy kept in a salt mine somewhere, what do the archivists go for?

    "I think what we can say is we're watching the situation carefully."

    "Duck Amuck," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Wild Bunch" are productions of CNN Interactive sister company Warner Bros., a Time Warner property.

    'Easy Rider' now listed on National Film Registry
    November 17, 1998
    25 films added to National Registry
    November 18, 1997
    Filmmakers fight to preserve films
    October 3, 1995

    Library of Congress
    National Film Preservation Board
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