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Movie Natters: December 28, 2007 Archive

A list worth reading

Posted at 5:09 PM on December 28, 2007 by Euan Kerr

It's the time of year for lists: Christmas lists, holiday menus, shopping lists, pages of resolutions for the new year, lists of the best and the worst of the previous year. And then of course there are all the predictions for the coming 12 months. It's quite oppressive.

But here's a list worth reading, the latest 25 selections for the Library of Congress National Film Registry. Some of the films are well-known, some are amateur or student films, not seen by more than a few people. All of them are fascinating.

How wonderful to see Harry Langdon honored, and to see "The Women" (1939) included too. And "The Sex Life of the Polyp," a short made in 1928 by humorist Robert Benchley looks like a lot of fun.

The people at the Registry also take the opportunity to remind people aboutbthe horrors of vinegar syndrome, the chemical reaction which has devastated film archives around the world.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington puts it this way: "Even as Americans fill the movie theaters to see the latest releases, few are aware that up to half the films produced in this country before 1950—and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920—are lost forever. The National Film Registry seeks not only to honor these films, but to ensure that they are preserved for future generations to enjoy."

The Library of Congress list just becomes more fodder for another list of course, the one titled "Films to see before I die"

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