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Preserving Our Cinematic Heritage

The American Film Registry announced their 2017 list of 25 films to be preserved for their "cultural, social, historic and/or aesthetic importance." Two distinct animation additions made it to this prestigious list:

Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941) — the timeless tale of the little elephant whose oversized ears become the key to big things — with the help of a tiny mouse. Production was completed on a tight budget, with limited supplies due to the pending war, and during the throes of a divisive strike. This beloved and inspiring little story saved the studio during some challenging times, and over the years, Walt Disney's big-eared elephant continues to be embraced by audiences around the world.

Winsor McCay's The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918) — This early animated short marks the first use of animation to recreate an actual event. McCay spent nearly two years producing the film by himself, to stir Americans into action following the 1915 sinking of the British liner RMS Lusitania by a German submarine, McCay's animated recreation made a powerful political statement in the early days of WWI. Detailed drawing of the Lusitania, intercut with newspaper headlines and firmly worded subtitles make this a fascinating documentation from a dark time in our collective history.

These two worthy examples of our animated heritage take their place within this vital program to preserve our collective cinematic heritage. The 2017 inductees are as follows:

Ace in the Hole (aka Big Carnival) (1951) Boulevard Nights (1979) Die Hard (1988) Dumbo (1941) Field of Dreams (1989) 4 Little Girls (1997) Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection (1920s and 1930s) Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) The Goonies (1985) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street (1905) La Bamba (1987) Lives of Performers (1972) Memento (2000) Only Angels Have Wings (1939) The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918) Spartacus (1960) Superman (1978) Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) Time and Dreams (1976) Titanic (1997) To Sleep with Anger (1990) Wanda (1971) With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1937-1938)

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