Thursday, December 20, 2012

Texas Films Added to National Film Registry

Each year the Library of Congress adds 25 films of cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance to the National Film Registry. This year there are two films by Texas filmmakers. Melton Barker's "The Kidnappers Foil" is an interesting addition in that it is what is know as an itinerant film. These were films produced from the late 1930s to the 1970s using local talent in small towns across the United States and around the world. The film maker would charge a small amount  to shoot a"town booster" film or one featuring local talent and local landmarks. "The Kidnappers Foil" was filmed hundreds of times by Melton Barker using the same script. The plot line was fairly simple, Betty gets kidnapped from her birthday party and the local kids come to her rescue. At the end their was a big party to celebrate where the local children could showcase their talent. While there were hundreds of these films produced only a few remain today. The Texas Archive of The Moving Image has ten of these films that you can view online. The Texas Archive of the Moving Image has also created a website about Melton Barker and his films.

The second Texas film added to the National Film Registry is Richard Linklater's "Slacker". Linklater filmed "Slacker" for $23,000 on 16mm film in Austin Texas. Rather than a having a plot the film is a series of vignettes that are connected. The film takes place in a single day with a cast of colorful Austin characters as they discuss Scooby Doo, UFOs, Leon Czolgosz, the JFK assassination, and other topics. The film came to influence a whole generation of independent film makers and was picked up by a major distributor and made more than $1 million at the box office. 

Other films added include Dirty Harry, Breakfast at Tiffany's, A Christmas Story, A League of Their Own, One Survivor Remembers, 3:10 to Yuma, and Two-lane Blacktop. 
The entire list of films added to the National Film Registry can be found at:

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