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'Matrix,' 'Dirty Harry,' 'League' Among 2012 National Film Registry Honorees

20 Dec, 2012 By: John Latchem

'The Matrix'

Dirty Harry, The Matrix and A League of Their Own led the crop of 25 films named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress Dec. 19.

Dirty Harry, the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as a gruff San Francisco cop with a zealous sense of justice, laid the groundwork for many of the gritty police dramas of the 1970s and spawned four sequels. The films are available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.

The sci-fi film The Matrix, released in 1999, used innovative visual effects and filmmaking techniques to tell the story of a human rebellion against the machines that enslaved them by trapping them in a virtual reality. The film and its two sequels are available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner.

A League of Their Own, on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that lasted from 1943 to 1954. The 1992 film stars Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.

Additional films added to the list that are available on disc include the 1957 Western 3:10 to Yuma (Sony Pictures), 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder (Criterion), 1950’s Born Yesterday (Sony Pictures), 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Paramount), 1983’s A Christmas Story (Warner), 1991’s Slacker (Criterion), 1984’s The Times of Harvey Milk (Criterion) and Two-Lane Blacktop (on Blu-ray Jan. 8 from Criterion), as well as 1933’s Sons of the Desert, available on Vivendi’s Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection boxed set, and 1967’s They Call It Pro Football, on DVD as part of NFL Films’ Legends of Autumn collection.

Other selections include The Augustas (1930s-1950s), The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight (1897), Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2 (1980-82), The Kidnappers Foil (1930s-1950s), Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922), The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair (1939), Parable (1964), Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia (1990), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914) and The Wishing Ring: An Idyll of Old England (1914).

The class of 2012 brings the total number of films in the Registry to 600.

Under the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress each year names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. To be preserved for all time, these are not selected as the "best" American films of all time but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and having extensive discussions with the members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library's motion picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year's registry at the Film Board's website at www.loc.gov/film.

About the Author: John Latchem

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