Did you know you can suggest movies for the National Film Registry? @ 25 January 2013 10:04 PM
Just watched a fascinating documentary called "These Amazing Shadows" about how the National Film Registry came about and what they do. I did not know you could submit suggestions -- up to 50 a year -- for their consideration.

At their website, they have the full registry list and another list of films that did not make it yet. Of course, there were a few that they didn't have on either list, but that didn't stop me. The review board seems to prefer very eclectic choices, so naturally here's how I obliged with my first 25 picks:



Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Cynical yet endearing musical/non-musical; a forerunner for the savvy tone in family films of today; a brilliant satire on mass media frenzy that only gains momentum in its shrewd truth

Babes in Toyland (1934)
The first musical fantasy on film; an operetta that stands up today despite changing tastes; a masterwork of Laurel & Hardy comedy

Babes in Arms (1939)
The first "let's put on a show" musical that also cemented the power of youth-driven cinema that took full hold with the dawn of rock

The Three Caballeros (1945)
The quintessential WWII "friendship" effort with some of the most mind-bending sequences ever (the "Wedding of the Wooden Doll" sequence in "Singin' in the Rain" owes a bit to this film

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

Time capsule of a makeshift family brought together by circumstance, particularly returned servicemen from the war, the changing roles of labor and management

Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
Hollywood's greatest example of transforming a real person into a figure of pure fantasy and childlike wonder; personifying Danny Kaye as an ambassador to children through the strength of music and storytelling

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
The "Citizen Kane" of budget drive-in teen movies in which all the elements work to their fullest effect, from the supporting characters to the guest stars; captures an era and an environment that millions believed to actually exist.

Pollyanna (1960)

One of Walt Disney's finest live-action films, not the saccharine dreck that the title suggests, but a great cast, great script and a vivid portrayal of small town Americana with more than a little bite

Mad Monster Party (1969)
No, I'm not kidding. The first mainstream feature length stop motion feature featuring legendary character designers in a quirky production that has influenced numerous Pixar artists and surely Tim Burton himself, many years before the "dark" animation of such films as "Nightmare Before Christmas"

House of Dark Shadows (1970)

Also not kidding. Barnabas Collins was the first vampire with a conscience and this film not only compressed about a year of daily TV soap opera drama into one film with economy and style, it also was such a moneymaker it helped save MGM at the time.

Skeleton Dance, The (1929)

The first of Walt Disney's "Silly Symphonies," another blueprint that countless filmmakers have followed

Superman (1978)
Still the finest of the tentpole action/fantasy epics of its time and any time, as it hits multiple audiences at once, tells a great American folk tale and makes its premise seem completely believable while winking with wit at the same time.

Mary Poppins (1964)
The culmination of an entire filmmaker's career, and that of his studio, in one film -- combining everything Walt Disney and his team could do in film, music and story -- with a nod to the Audio Animatronics Theme Park technology that became commonplace in movies in later decades

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)
The seed of one of the world's most popular stories and character casts, told with faith to the illustrations -- with a literal book and pages -- a great voice cast and a restrained simplicity rare among animated films of the time

Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The most imaginative vision of the virtually unfilmable world inside Lewis Carroll's mind; breaks all the rules of conventional Disney storytelling; becomes more contemporary as its moves forward in time; a masterpiece of design, madness and relentless abandon; truly like a dream realized on film

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Certainly groundbreaking in so many well-known ways, but also significant in that it made cartoons and animation -- and the love of such -- a perfectly grownup and artistic endeavor. Just ask those of us who took flack for liking cartoons as kids.

That's Entertainment! (1974)

A final -- or close to final -- look at the stars who made the great MGM films of the Freed unit; the last glimpse of the MGM wonderland before it was destroyed; also the movie that was supposed to draw a curtain over the genre but instead was so successful it spawned three sequels

The Long, Long Trailer (1953)
The only feature film to capture the electric dynamic between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at the top of the career and marriage success; a portrait of American "on the move" in which trailer parks were like folksy small towns

Charlotte's Web (1973)
The work that transcends the easily and too often dismissed factory animation of the Hanna-Barbera studio and elevates it to something rare and profound -- perfection in its imperfections, a film that is moving and memorable despite its budgetary limitations thanks to inspired casting and an effecting score. When the remake was being tested, audience members asked "where was the smorgasbord song?" This film gained a following as one of the first animated features to be readily available on cable and video before Disney started opening its vault. It's the "Wonderful Life" of animated features.

The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Originally a TV pilot, this modest, yet strangely dark, comedy made millions and influenced not only the Disney fantasy/comedy genre, but decades of film and TV escapist fantasies after it

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
The postwar baby boom suburban experience presented with charm and unforgettable humor

Cheaper By the Dozen (1950)

A slice of early 20th century life with many real-life misadventures adapted directly from the book by real-life Gilbreths; also notable because Lillian Moller Gilbreth broke down gender barriers, was her husband's partner in ways unusual for its time and was even on a U.S. postage stamp

Quiet Man, The (1952)
John Ford's sweeping portrait of the people of his heritage and perhaps the best example of chemistry between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, as well as the vivid characters the people so many Ford films

Finian’s Rainbow (1968)
Francis Ford Coppola's only musical (his second commercial feature), the last film in which Fred Astaire danced, Petula Clark's first American film and a surreal look at racial issues with a foot in 1948 as well as 1968

Head (1968)

What might have been intended by the producers as an attempt to "bury" their creations, The Monkees, this stream-of-consciousness experience is one hand a melange of ideas and social commentary and on the other, an extended (albeit wilder) version of their series, still the most successful attempt at launching a fictional pop band that actually became a real one and rebelled against their creators.

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