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Before the Internet came along, I have to assume it was much easier for the Library of Congress to discuss and decide upon the movies that made the cut to go into the National Film Registry. I mean, I’m sure they have better things to do than listen to swaths of people offer their own biased input for films worthy of the list, but one can only take being referred to as the Library of "Clowngress" one time too many. They recently released their list for the 25 films entering the Registry in 2013, and it is the treasure-filled variety that you’ve come to expect, with everything from a singing nanny to the Mercury Seven.
With these recent entries, the Library’s list has now reached 625, according to THR, and some of the films being honored are surprising, mostly because it seems like they would have been on there already. Mary Poppins is a timely addition, with the recent biopic Saving Mr. Banks winning over most audiences this holiday season. John Sturges’ legendary western The Magnificent Seven also made the cut, as what will probably be a misguided remake looms on the horizon. While you’d think John Ford’s tenth entry into the Registry would also be for a western, this time he’s in with the St. Patrick’s Day favorite The Quiet Man. There’s nothing quite about Jules Winnfield though, and we’re sure he’d be talking up a storm about Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction getting the honor.
With David Kirkland’s 1919 romantic comedy A Virtuous Vamp as the oldest entry and Bill Morrison’s meditative 2002 documentary Decasia as the most recent, the list also contains such celebrated classics as Edward Albee’s rabidly boozy drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett-scripted 1939 rom-com Midnight from director Mitchell Leisen, and Philip Kaufman’s epic adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s Space Age tale The Right Stuff. Michael Moore’s scathing look at the auto industry Roger & Me also made the cut, as did the short 1966 documentary Cicero March, which was situated right in the middle of the civil rights movement.
The Library’s James Billington comprises the list after going over hundreds of nominations from the public and then speaking with members of the National Film Preservation Board including Martin Scorsese and Leonard Maltin. The films are then preserved by the meticulous work of the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation; I assume they use pixie dust taken straight from Peter Pan, which was also saved back in 2000.
The Registry also has a new tenant in Robby the Robot, now that Fred M. Wilcox’s classic sci-fi take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Forbidden Planet, was also added. Relive the hammy highbrow attitude of that film in the trailer below.