Varied pix get Library card

Org books 25 titles to Film Registry

The Library of Congress has named an eclectic mix of pics to the National Film Registry for 2004, including the 1951 civil defense film “Duck and Cover,” Andy Warhol’s eight-hour experimental “Empire,” William Wyler’s “Ben-Hur,” David Lynch’s “Eraserhead,” Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” and Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.”

The institution chooses 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant films to add to the registry each year, with 2004 entrants bringing the total number to 400.

Latest selections span 1909 to 1993 and “encompass films ranging from Hollywood classics to lesser-known but still vital works,” the Library of Congress said in a statement Tuesday. The pics, it added, aren’t necessarily either “the best” or “the most famous.”

Avant-garde documentary “A Bronx Morning” was filmed by Jay Leyda in 1931 when he was 21 and won him a scholarship to study with Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein.

“The Court Jester” (1956) is an adventure parody starring Danny Kaye; “D.O.A.” (1950) a film noir; “Enter the Dragon” (1973) introduced Bruce Lee Stateside — just after his death; and “Lady Helen’s Escapade” (1909) starred Florence Lawrence, the first actor to receive billing in film credits.

The complete list: “Ben-Hur” (1959), “The Blue Bird” (1918), “A Bronx Morning” (1931), “Clash of the Wolves” (1925), “The Court Jester” (1956), “D.O.A.” (1950), “Daughters of the Dust” (1991), “Duck and Cover” (1951), “Empire” (1964), “Enter the Dragon” (1973), “Eraserhead” (1978), “Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers” (1980), “Going My Way” (1944), “Jailhouse Rock” (1957), “Kannapolis, NC” (1941), “Lady Helen’s Escapade” (1909), “The Nutty Professor” (1963), “OffOn” (1968), “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor” (1936), “Pups Is Pups” (1930), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), “Swing Time” (1936), “There It Is” (1928), “Unforgiven” (1992).

The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, his motion picture staff and the members of the National Film Preservation Board evaluated nearly 1,000 titles.

The Library of Congress said it works to ensure that each film named to the registry is preserved. It said 50% of films produced before 1950 and 80%-90% of films made before 1920 “have disappeared forever.” More films are lost each year through the nitrate deterioration, color-fading and “vinegar syndrome,” which threatens acetate-based film stock on which most pics are reproduced.

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