(Above: Lon Chaney in ‘He Who Gets Slapped’)
The Library of Congress has named this year’s 25 inductees into the esteemed National Film Registry – and you can watch eight of them right here at The Savvy Screener!
Under the National Film Preservation Act, films named to the Registry – which now total 725 titles — must be at least 10 years old and “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
We’ll share four of the new inductees with you today, and another four tomorrow. In alphabetical order, let’s start with Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival), director Billy Wilder’s scathing 1951 portrait of a manipulative, unscrupulous journalist played by Kirk Douglas:
Our next three films are silent, but speak volumes about the importance of film history.
The Fuentes Family’s home movies from the 1920s and 1930s were inducted into the Registry for being “among the earliest visual records of the Mexican-American community in Texas and among the first recorded by Mexican-American filmmakers.” So let’s visit Christmas Day 1928, in Corpus Christie:
The third film on our list, 1924’s He Who Gets Slapped, stars Lon Chaney as one of Hollywood’s first “creepy clowns”:
For our final Registry inductee today, travel back to 1905 for a five-minute ride on New York City’s brand-new subway from Union Square to Grand Central Station. The film, by G.W. “Billy” Bitzer, “is not as simple as it first appears. It required coordinating three trains: the one we watch, the one carrying the camera and a third (glimpsed on the parallel track) to carry a bank of lights”:
Come back to The Savvy Screener tomorrow when we’ll share Winsor McCay’s animated short The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918), Christopher Reeve’s debut as the Man of Steel in Superman (1978), the 1988 documentary Thelonius Monk: Straight No Chaser, and the 1970 indie Wanda, written by, directed by and starring Barbara Loden as a lonely, isolated woman in Pennsylvania’s coal mining region
Oh yes, the other 17 films inducted this year include such blockbusters as Titanic (1997) Die Hard (1988), Field of Dreams (1989) and The Goonies (1985), plus Boulevard Nights (1979), Dumbo (1941), 4 Little Girls (1997), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), La Bamba (1987), Lives of Performers (1972), Memento (2000), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Spartacus (1960), Time and Dreams (1976), To Sleep With Anger (1990), and With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1937-1938).
Lives of Performers, Time and Dreams, and With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade are unavailable for streaming, but all the others can be rented or bought through the likes of Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play or YouTube. For complete choices, we recommend visiting JustWatch, Guidebox, Can I Stream It? or Fan TV.
Each of the big three subscription streaming services also offer two of the movies: Titanic and 4 Little Girls on Amazon Prime; Titanic and La Bamba on Hulu; and Field of Dreams and Memento on Netflix.
You can find the rationale for including all 725 honored films on the Registry website.
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