Today, we continue The Savvy Screener’s sampling of the latest inductees into the National Film Registry, honored for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant (see yesterday’s article for all the 2016 honorees and more videos).
First up is Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satire on black power and Madison Avenue, Putney Swope:
Next we present what the Registry labels simply as the “Solomon Sir Jones films,” a collection of amateur silent films shot by a Baptist minister and businessman that showcase the “rich tapestry” of African-American life in 1920s’ Oklahoma. Following are 10 minutes of highlights, and you can see eight complete reels originally shot on 16mm film at the YouTube page of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Registry also honored Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent comedy feature Steamboat Bill, Jr., “remembered for its breath-stopping stunts and cyclone finale”:
Staying silent, we turn to Universal Picture’s big-budget, special-effect laden 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916), touted in its first frame as “the first submarine photoplay ever filmed” and featuring pioneering underwater photography:
Finally, we come to A Walk in the Sun, a 1945 war film that forgoes the usual focus on battle scenes to present “an episodic, perceptive character study of the men in the platoon, interspersed with sharp, random bursts of violence. The frequent conversations among the soldiers reveal the emotional stress they go through when faced with the day-to-day uncertainties of war, constant peril and the fear of death”:
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