Holiday gift for movie lovers, from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress today announced:

Sixty-four motion pictures, named to the Library’s National Film Registry, are now available online on the Library’s website. The collection, “Selections from the National Film Registry,” is also available to the public on YouTube.

These films are among hundreds of titles that have been tapped for preservation because of their cultural, historical and aesthetic significance. More information about the National Film Registry can be found at loc.gov/film/.

All of the streaming films in the new online collection are in the public domain.  They are also available as freely downloadable files with the exception of two titles. Additional films will be added periodically to the website.

Highlights from “Selections from the National Film Registry” include:

  • “Memphis Belle” (1944)—William Wyler’s remarkable World War II documentary about the crew of a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber
  • “The Hitch-Hiker” (1953)—a gritty film noir directed by actress Ida Lupino
  • “Trance and Dance in Bali” (1936-1939)—Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s groundbreaking ethnographic documentary
  • “Modesta” (1956)—a Spanish-language film produced by Puerto Rico’s Division of Community Education
  • “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor” (1936)—a two-reel Technicolor cartoon
  • “Master Hands” (1936)—a dazzling “mechanical ballet” shot on a General Motors automotive assembly line
  • Frank Sinatra stars in “The House I Live In” (1945), a plea for religious tolerance that won an honorary Academy Award
  • Cold War curio “Duck and Cover” (1951) features Bert the Turtle explaining to schoolchildren how best to survive a nuclear attack

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that films named to the National Film Registry will be preserved and available to future generations, either through the Library’s motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers.

Personally I’m looking forward to Bessie Smith in St. Louis Blues. … and then there’s the tale of two sailor men, Popeye the Sailor meets Sindbad the Sailor!

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