The Library of Congress has announced its picks for the annual National Film Registry, which selects each year those films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant to be preserved for all time. Among the twenty-five films that received the nod in 2009: Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The Exiles (1961), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Jezebel (1938), Little Nemo (1911), Mabel's Blunder (1914), The Mark of Zorro (1940), Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Muppet Movie (1979), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Pillow Talk (1959), Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Thriller (1983) and Under Western Stars (1938). It’s nice to see Mabel Normand (Blunder) and Roy Rogers (Stars) get their due, but Thriller—well, the LOC does stress “these films are not selected as the ‘best’ American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture.” You can download a .pdf file of the 2009 honorees here; there are now 525 films in the Registry.
In a related story, the U.S. Postal Service has announced some of the lucky celebrities whose visages will appear on commemorative stamps in 2010; they include singing cowboy Gene Autry (part of a four-part set that will also feature Gene’s rival Roy Rogers, as well as silent screen cowpokes Tom Mix and William S. Hart; 50 Westerns from the 50s has a peek at what the stamps will look like), famed WW2 cartoonist Bill Mauldin, Oscar-winning actress Katharine Hepburn, pioneering filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, artist Winslow Homer and God Bless America songstress Kate Smith. The USPS will also honor the Sunday funnies with a set of stamps featuring comic strips like Archie, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes. (I’m not the biggest Hepburn fan around but I do like that stamp picture; I may have to get some of them when they come out.)
“Uncle” Sam Wilson takes a look at one of my favorite silent comedy films (well, to be totally inclusive, one of my favorite films ever) over at Mondo 70: A Wild World of Cinema, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923). Not to be outdone, Ed Howard dissects another TDOY fave, The Conversation (1974), over at Only the Cinema. Both essays are a jolly good read.
Finally, my good Facebook friend Lloyd Fonvielle of mardecortesbaja fame e-mailed me a link to the following video on YouTube which I think my fellow classic film buffs will get a tremendous kick out of. Lloyd informed me that it was shot over one weekend with an HD camera (a Sony EX1 with a Letus adapter for standard 35mm Canon lenses) and the end result is positively stunning. (The musical numbers are great, too—particularly Mr. Monaco.)