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“The Hitch-Hiker”: National Film Registry #10

Though greatly out-numbered, female film directors have always been a part of the movie-making industry.  One of the very first, and still today, one of the very best was Ida Lupino.  Lupino began her career in front of the camera as an actress before transitioning to being behind it, bringing to the screen a meaningful […]

“The Great Dictator”: National Film Registry #9

Obviously no list devoted to great cinema can overlook the contributions of Charlie Chaplin.  Among his greatest films is this one, a brave political send-up from 1940 that was added to the National Film Registry in 1997. Extraordinarily timely when it came out, and in some ways, still, the silent film scholar Jeffrey Vance said about the intersection […]

“Broken Blossoms”: National Film Registry #8

“Broken Blossoms,” one of the great silents, was added to the National Film Registry in 1996.  Directed by D.W. Griffith, it starred his best-known muse, the ethereal Lillian Gish. Though, today, Griffith is a somewhat controversial figure, Ed Gonzalez, film editor of “Slant” magazine, says that, regardless, his influence on film cannot be ignored: “No dialectic approach […]

“Stagecoach”: National Film Registry #7

In 1995, one of the all-time great Westerns, “Stagecoach,” was added to the Registry.  Directed by that sagebrush master, John Ford, the film features–not surprisingly–John Wayne. Writer and archivist Scott Nollen noted of the film’s value and influence by saying: “Orson Welles, who named John Ford as his favorite filmmaker, claimed that he studied ‘Stagecoach,’ ‘over […]

“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”: National Film Registry #6

 In 1994, the National Film Registry welcomed Spielberg’s immortal “ET” to its list.  The beloved film that has forevermore encouraged us to “phone home,” was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas and C. Thomas Howell. The Library of Congress’s own Dave Gibson once wrote of the film: “‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial’ […]

“King Kong”: National Film Registry #3

In 1991, the third year of the National Film Registry, the Registry welcomed that big ape known as “King Kong” to its list.  Though the film has since been remade–three times and counting–to many fans, nothing has surpassed the original in terms of thrills, heart and humanity. Film historian and “Kong” devotee Michael Price said of […]

“Duck Soup”: National Film Registry #2

The Marx Brothers made their way onto the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 1990 with their hilarious 1933 film “Duck Soup,” a film many consider to be most emblematic of the famous comedy team. Film critic William Wolf once said of this particular mash-up of on-screen  mayhem: “When Paramount released ‘Duck Soup’ in […]

“Casablanca”: National Film Registry #1

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.  Begun in 1989, the Registry annually recognizes American-made films, encompassing all genres, which are of such aesthetic, historic or cultural importance to the United States that they are worthy of preservation by copyright holders or archives such as the […]