Contacts: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

July 8, 1996

National Film Registry Tour Begins New Season

The National Film Registry Tour will begin its second season in September 1996, and the first three locations were announced today by the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. The tour showcases 26 feature films and 10 short subjects from the National Film Registry in their original 35mm or 16mm formats. The purpose is to celebrate American filmmaking and promote public awareness of the need to protect and preserve America's film heritage.

In announcing the new venues, Dr. Billington said, "The moving picture is not so much the art form as the language of our time. Motion pictures provide an unparalleled record of American life and culture. If we can preserve these films, researchers will have the sights and sounds that flesh out the written record of great events and everyday life."

The season opens at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on September 19-22. The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, is the venue October 17-20 and the tour goes to the Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Florida, November 8-14. In its initial season, the tour played to enthusiastic audiences in eight cities across the country. The goal is to bring the tour to at least one city in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The National Film Registry was created in 1988. The Registry recognizes the -richness of American filmmaking, and each year 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant films are added to it. The films on tour are selected from the Registry and include a broad range of film types, dates and filmmakers. Audiences will see "Gertie the Dinosaur," "The Battle of San Pietro" and "Castro Street" as well as "Safety Last," "On the Waterfront" and "Chinatown."

The perilous state of America's film heritage was documented by the Library and the National Film Preservation Board in "Film Preservation 1993: A Study of the Current State of American Film Preservation." More than half of all American films made before 1951 are lost forever. Film is a fragile medium, and motion pictures, both old and new, face deterioration problems. Only by storing films in low-temperature and low-humidity environments can the decay process be slowed. The majority of American films do not receive this type of care and are in critical need of preservation.

Funding for the tour comes from the James Madison Council, the Library's private sector advisory board. The Film Foundation, a group of leading film directors committed to film preservation, and Turner Classic Movies have provided additional support. Motion picture studios have generously provided new prints of the titles under their control. The preservation work of many organizations will be represented, including the Library of Congress, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film and Video and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.


(Program Subject to Change)


  • The Cheat Chinatown
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Duck Soup
  • Gigi
  • High School
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  • The Learning Tree
  • Letter From an Unknown Woman
  • My Darling Clementine
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Ninotchka
  • On the Waterfront
  • Out of the Past
  • Raging Bull
  • Safety Last
  • Salt of the Earth
  • The Searchers
  • Shadow of a Doubt
  • Shane
  • Sunrise
  • Touch of Evil
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Within Our Gates
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy


  • The Battle of San Pietro
  • Big Business
  • Castro Street
  • Eaux d'Artifice
  • Gertie the Dinosaur
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • March of Time: Inside Nazi Germany--1938
  • Meshes of the Afternoon
  • The River
  • What's Opera, Doc?

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PR 96-99
ISSN 0731-3527

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