This is a guest post by Amanda Jenkins, Librarian-in-Residence, in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
Last November, I received an email about a new program being offered by the Library of Congress: the Librarians-in-Residence program. My library and information science program at the University of Iowa sent out emails like this frequently—of internship and employment opportunities—and at first I thought nothing more about this email than I did any of the others. “Oh, that would be cool.” But I followed the link in the email to read more about the program, and my thoughts quickly turned into, “That would be amazing.” I applied, not knowing what my chances were, never seriously believing I would get an interview, let alone be offered one of the positions.
Nine months later, I’m sitting at my desk in the Moving Image Research Center in the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress, composing a blog post about my first two and a half months on the job. The Moving Image Research Center and its counterpart, the Recorded Sound Research Center, form the reference arm of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, now also known by its newer name as the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. This Library of Congress division holds the largest collection of sound recordings and moving image materials in the nation.
In the viewing room nearby, researchers view decades-old film prints that the Library has collected and preserved throughout the years. Beyond that, film prints and publicity materials sit on the shelves waiting to be discovered and used in research. In the research center, my expert colleagues assist patrons in navigating our massive (and often hard-to-find) collections. Across the street, thousands of people tour the historic Thomas Jefferson Building in awe of both the architecture of the building and of the materials it holds. On the next block is the Adams building—the art deco gem of the trio of buildings—where researchers explore topics of science, business, and technology, and where millions of books and materials are stored. I’m at the Library of Congress.
A recent graduate of the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science, I come from an academic libraries reference background, working mainly with undergraduates as they conduct research and write papers towards their degrees. During my time at Iowa, I had the opportunity to staff a research help desk, teach library instruction classes, create online research guides, and work in several different areas of the university’s library system, including the cataloging office and one of the university’s smaller branch libraries, the Rita Benton Music Library. My love of librarianship lies in helping others—students and researchers and any interested parties—learn about navigating the library in order to find the information they need, and maybe even something unexpected or entertaining along the way.
Prior to arriving at the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, I had very little experience with audiovisual materials, or even with archives, and so I’ve learned a lot since June 11. Since then, I have had the opportunity to participate in the reference activities of the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers. This involves a near-constant exploration of the Library’s resources and the Division’s collections. This exploration has so far included my first-ever use of microfiche (I’m dating myself, here, I know), the following of breadcrumb trails in Library acquisition files and subject files, and a surprising amount of card catalog use. Yes, the Library of Congress still has card catalogs! I have researched recordings of Brazilian musicians, Senate committee hearings, concerts from US Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, and the Marlboro Music Festival; I have searched for Ed Sullivan Show episodes, early films of automobile races, and footage of the 1940 World’s Fair. The reference librarians in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers are founts of knowledge, always ready with suggestions for answering Ask-a-Librarian questions or explanations for the wonderful workings of the Library of Congress.
My work so far has also included creating materials to aid in the discovery of our collections. I have been contributing steadily to a growing number of online research guides that the Library will launch this fall, as well as redesigning and updating physical handouts that we give to patrons in the Research Centers. I have also been contributing to an effort to get the Division more active on social media.
I have had the opportunity to attend workshops about digital scholarship and primary source instruction, as well as to learn about the other divisions and collections of the Library. I have also been able to take advantage of some of the many programs and events that the Library has to offer. And on September 1st, I volunteered at the Library’s annual National Book Festival.
As a Librarian-in-Residence, I am here to learn, to explore, to ask questions, and to gain experience. In the future, I will continue to develop research guides, continue to participate in the reference activities of the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers, and continue to contribute to the Division’s social media. And, of course, I will continue to seek out opportunities to learn more about the Division as well as the Library as a whole. I am thrilled and honored to begin my career as a Librarian-in-Residence at the Library of Congress, and I can’t wait to see where the next few months take me.
The Packard Campus Theater is highlighting contemporary women directors through the end of the year with a series of films from the 1970s to the present. Throughout the 1970s training and mentorship programs for women directors were established, including Women Make Movies (1972), the Women in Film Foundation (1973), the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women (1974), New York Women in Film and Television (1977), and the DGA’s Women’s Steering Committee (1979). These programs gradually ushered in a new wave of women directors at both the independent and studio level. The series kicks off this month with Kasi Lemmon’s critically acclaimed drama Eve’s Bayou on October 13.
Joining with Frankenreads, an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the theater will screen three films inspired by the original novel: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) from the National Film Registry, Tim Burton’s animated feature Frankenweenie (2012), and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), directed by and starring Kevin Branagh.
Other features for the Halloween season include William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill (1959) and Homicidal (1961), plus the Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film Häxan (1922) and Dracula (1931). Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment for both the silent film and a theatre organ “underscore” for Dracula.
The Packard Campus Video lab will be showcased with an evening of musical performance highlights from the Library’s television collection of Soundstage programs.
Programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-served basis unless otherwise noted. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994. For further information on the theater and film series, visit http://www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/schedule.html
Now See Hear!, the National Audio Visual Conservation Center blog http://blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hear/. You can subscribe to regular updates from Now See Hear! blog by RSS and e-mail so you’ll get the news first. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before showtime to see if the screening has been cancelled.
Request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov.
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is where the
nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (loc.gov/avconservation/).
Thursday, October 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Tod Browning Double Feature
Freaks (MGM, 1932)
Master horror film director Tod Browning assembled a cast of genuine sideshow oddities for this chilling tale of camaraderie, persecution and revenge, with Olga Baclanova as the cruelly manipulative trapeze artist and Harry Earles as the freak she torments. The film’s unusual subject matter, its cast of curiosities, and its untraditional moral sympathy combined to create a cult following for this film, which was severely edited in the U.S. at the time of release and banned in the U.K. for 30 years. Freaks was added to the National Film Registry in 1994. Digital presentation, 64 min.
Iron Man (Universal, 1931)
Though Tod Browning is best known for his silent film collaborations with Lon Chaney and as the director of Dracula (1931) and Freaks, he directed many movies in a wide range of genres other than horror. In this pre-Code sports drama, Lew Ayres stars as a prizefighter Kid Mason whose gold-digging wife Rose (Jean Harlow in an early role), leaves him in disgust after he loses a fight to try for a career in Hollywood. Robert Armstrong as Mason’s manager turns the dejected Kid into a champion and runs interference when Rose returns. This 35mm film print was produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 2000. 73 min.
Thursday, October 11 (7:30 p.m.)
The Wiz (Universal, 1978)
Charlie Smalls’s jazzy, updated version of The Wizard of Oz won seven Tony Awards on Broadway in 1975, and was brought to the screen three years later with Diana Ross taking the lead role of a grown up, urban Dorothy that Stephanie Mills originated on Broadway. Directed by Sidney Lumet, The Wiz features an all-star cast including Michael Jackson as Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tinman, Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch, and Richard Pryor in the title role. Shown in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the film’s release and in conjunction with the special event “Declassified – Designing The Wiz” being held at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 27 at 11 am where production and costume designer Tony Walton will join Solomon HaileSelassie of the Music Division for an intimate look at some of the designs he created for film. 35mm archival print, 134 min.
Friday, October 12 (7:30 p.m.)
House on Haunted Hill (Allied Artists, 1959)
An eccentric millionaire (Vincent Price) offers a group of people $10,000 each if they’ll spend a night in a sinister old mansion where several murders have occurred; he even gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. Produced and directed by William Castle, the king of gimmick horror films, House on Haunted Hill was a great success, especially with younger audiences, and most of his future efforts were geared toward the teenage market; 13 Ghosts (1960), 13 Frightened Girls (1963), and I Saw What You Did (1965) being prime examples. Digital presentation, 75 min.
Saturday, October 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Eve’s Bayou (Trimark Pictures, 1997 – rated R*)
This critically-acclaimed drama is a tale about the shifting psychological ties that bind an affluent Southern black family in the 1960s, as seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett) who worships her philandering father (Samuel L. Jackson). Eve’s Bayou is the first feature film written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, who went on to direct The Caveman’s Valentine, Talk to Me, and Black Nativity. Lemmons is a mentor with Project HER, where new women directors are paired with established women directors. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. 35mm archival print, 109 min. Rated R for sexuality and language. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Thursday, October 18 (7:30 p.m.)
An Evening of Folk, Blues, Soul and Rock Highlights from ‘Soundstage (1974-1982)
Soundstage is a live concert television series produced by WTTW Chicago and distributed by PBS. The original series aired between 1974 and 1985; it was revived in 2003 and is still being produced. Emphasizing live performances, Soundstage presented a dramatic contrast to the way music had been televised until that point when variety shows (such as The Ed Sullivan Show) and lip-synched cabaret shows (such as The Andy Williams Show) were the norm. This unique program curated from the television archive of the Library of Congress features performances by Jackie Wilson, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne, Al Green, Dr. John, Doc & Merle Watson, Leonard Cohen, Jesse Winchester, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Tom Waits, Phoebe Snow & David Bromberg, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings, Etta James, Graham Parker, The Blasters and Tina Turner. Digital presentation, approximately 90 min.
Friday, October 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Dracula (Universal, 1931)
Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula defined the ultimate vampire characterization for decades to follow, and the actor made a career of it, both on screen and on stage. Director Tod Browning referenced
Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel and subsequent stage plays, including a 1927 Broadway production starring Lugosi, to inform his cinematic approach to the legend. Browning, cinematographer Karl Freund and art director Charles D. Hall created an eerie gothic atmosphere to frame Lugosi’s performance. Dwight Frye is memorable as Dracula’s creepy minion Renfield. Unusually, Dracula did not have a specific score written for it and only two pieces of music are on its soundtrack: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake during the opening credits, and the overture of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during a scene at an opera. Ben Model will be on hand to fill the gaps by providing a live theatre organ underscore for the film. Selected for the National Film Registry in 2000. 35mm print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation lab in 1984, 73 min.
Saturday, October 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Häxan (UFA, 1922)
This Swedish-Danish documentary-style horror film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. Leonard Maltin describes it as “A visually stunning history of the occult, recreating actual incidents based on records of witch trials, demonic possessions, and torture by the Inquisition. A genuinely scary, no-holds-barred silent film.” Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. Digital presentation, 91 min.
Thursday, October 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Homicidal (Columbia, 1961)
The horror films produced and directed by William Castle were often more famous for their promotional gimmicks than their effectiveness as movies. This one was typical of Castle’s carnival barker approach with its tagline – “The picture with a Fright Break.” Starring Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin and Joan Marshall (credited as Jean Arless) in a dual role, the plot is a variation on the old-dark-house-with-a-family-secret, beginning with a brutal stabbing murder of a justice of the peace. Film writer Jeff Stafford opines “Homicidal is a schlock masterpiece, clumsily directed by Castle on cheap sets with crudely staged shock effects that only add to the film’s unpretentious sense of fun.” 35mm archival print, 87 min.
Friday, October 26 (7:30 p.m.)
The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935)
Director James Whale took his success with Frankenstein, added humor and thus created a cinematic hybrid that perplexed audiences at first glance but captivated them by picture’s end. Joined eventually by a mate (Elsa Lanchester), the Frankenstein monster (Boris Karloff reprising his role and investing the character with emotional subtlety) evolves into a touchingly sympathetic character as he gradually becomes more human. Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius is captivatingly bizarre. Many film historians consider “Bride,” with its surreal visuals, superior to the original. The Bride of Frankenstein was added to the National Film Registry in 1998. 35mm archival print produced by the Library of Congress film lab in 1995, 95 min.
Saturday, October 27 (2 p.m.)
Frankenweenie (Walt Disney, 2012)
A boy named Victor loses his dog, a Bull Terrier named Sparky, and uses the power of electricity to resurrect him – but is then blackmailed by his peers into revealing how they too can reanimate their deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in mayhem. Tim Burton remade his 1984 short film of the same name as a stop-motion-animated horror comedy feature. Both a parody of and a homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley’s book, the voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau. 35mm archival print, 87 min.
Saturday, October 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (TriStar Pictures, 1994 – rated R*)
Considered to be a faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein despite some differences and additions in plot, the story begins in the Arctic Sea as the feverish Baron Victor von Frankenstein is rescued by a passing ship. He tells the skeptical captain the ghastly story of how he created a living monster out of exhumed corpses. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Robert De Niro, Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, John Cleese, and Aidan Quinn. 35mm archival print, 123 min. Rated R for horrific images. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Due to the threat of inclement weather, the Thursday – Saturday screenings September 13-15 have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date yet to be determined.
Back when we were planning the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, one mantra we always kept foremost in our minds was “preservation for access.” It’s a simple concept and self-explanatory, but it also pithily illustrates an important guiding principle. Nearly every activity in this facility is in the service of access, be it acquisition, cataloging, storing in climate controlled vaults, or, yes, preservation. Our primary access point remains the Moving Image Research Center in the Library’s Madison Building and we’re also making more titles available online.
One access initiative in which we take some special pride is our film loans program. In a typical year we will loan somewhere between 350-400 titles in 35mm to venues committed to showing films on film–more than 200 world-wide to date. We only loan titles for which we have preservation material like a negative or a fine grain master positive, meaning if a print is damaged in projection (which can certainly happen when a thin strip of plastic runs at high speed through a machine) or is lost in transit, we can replace it. Those preservation elements are almost always produced by our film lab, and since our film lab mainly preserves our nitrate holdings, the overwhelmingly vast majority of titles we have for loan are from the nitrate era, or pre-1951. In other words, please don’t ask to borrow our 35mm print of Guardians of the Galaxy that we received through copyright in 2014.
Today we inaugurate a monthly post that will list films we’ve loaned from our collection that can be seen in the weeks ahead at venues around the world. We can’t guarantee that schedules won’t change or links get broken, but this is our best information at the time of publication. One other thing to remember: every reel that we loan–and 350-400 titles translates to more than 2000 individual reels–is inspected on the way out and inspected upon return; we’ll tell you more about that process in a future post. Suffice to say that it is very time consuming and labor intensive, but necessary to ensure that our prints are being properly handled.
September 1, 2018
Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919)
XIX International Silent Film Festival
September 9-23, 2018
Craig’s Wife (1936)
Give Us This Day (1949)
The House I Live In (1945)
September 13, 2018
Our Town (1940)
George Eastman Museum
Rochester, New York
September 24 – October 29, 2018
My Favorite Wife (1940)
Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)
September 25, 2018
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
The Campus Theater (Bucknell University)
September 22, 2018
Fear and Desire (1953)
September 26, 2018
Other Men’s Women (1931)
Chicago Film Society
The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, August 23 (7:30 p.m.)
The Age of Innocence (Columbia, 1993)
Martin Scorsese, in a departure from his usual gritty crime epics, directed this opulent adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1921 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of manners and social mores in 19th-century New York. Daniel Day Lewis stars as a well-connected, socially correct lawyer, who risks his future place in society when he falls in love with his fiancé’s May’s married cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). The film won an Oscar for Costume Design, and Winona Ryder was nominated in the supporting acting category for her nuanced performance as the charming but passive May. Other nominations included art direction, the score by Elmer Bernstein, and the screenplay by Scorsese and film critic Jay Cocks. Rated PG. 35mm archival print, 139 min.
Friday, August 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Magnificent Obsession (Universal, 1935)
Robert Taylor stars as self-absorbed millionaire playboy Robert Merrick whose reckless ways indirectly cause the death of a beloved local doctor. As Merrick tries to make amends to the man’s widow, Helen (Irene Dunne), his long journey from selfish cad to compassionate savior becomes a magnificent obsession. John M. Stahl directed this first film adaptation of Lloyd C. Douglas’ 1929 best-selling novel that had been something of a phenomenon for its message of enriching one’s own life through philanthropy and acts of compassion done in secret. Later remade by Douglas Sirk and starring Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, this romantic drama was a big hit that catapulted Taylor, up until then a light leading man, to stardom. 35mm archival print, 112 min.
Saturday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Brokeback Mountain (Focus, 2005)
Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, Brokeback Mountain is the story of two young men–a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy–who meet in the summer of 1963 when they are hired as sheep herders, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection that provides a testament to the endurance and power of love. Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three: Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry), and Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla). Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, winner of the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. MPAA Rated R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence. No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm archival print.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
The following is guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, August 16 (7:30)
Christopher Strong (RKO, 1933)
After making a striking film debut in Bill of Divorcement (1932), RKO signed Katharine Hepburn to a long term contract and selected a story about a headstrong, individualistic woman for their new star’s follow-up feature. Playwright Zoe Akins adapted Gilbert Frankau’s novel about a prize-winning aviatrix who drifts into a potentially disastrous affair with the happily married British politician Christopher Strong (Colin Clive). To direct, producer David O. Selznick chose one of Hollywood’s few women directors, Dorothy Arzner. Actual newsreel footage of parades and famous flights added authenticity to the film which also features Billie Burke, Helen Chandler and Jack LaRue in the cast. 35mm archival print, 78 min.
Friday, August 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Flight (Paramount, 2012)
Denzel Washington stars as commercial airline pilot “Whip” Whitaker who astonishingly crash-lands his plane after it suffers an in-flight mechanical failure, saving nearly everyone on board. Hailed as a hero immediately following the incident, an investigation soon turns up evidence that sheds a negative light on the captain. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the action drama film received wide critical acclaim and earned a Best Original Screenplay nomination for John Gatins. Washington was nominated in the Best Actor category for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. MPAA Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence. No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm archival print, 138 min.
Saturday, August 18 (7:30 p.m.)
Now, Voyager (Warner Bros., 1942)
A resonant woman’s picture, Now, Voyager features Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale, a dowdy spinster terrorized by her possessive mother (Gladys Cooper) and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. While undergoing treatment at a sanatorium, a caring psychiatrist (played by Clause Rains) suggests that Charlotte go on a cruise, where she finds love with Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). The compassionate therapy and later improbable romance transforms her into a confident, independent woman. Davis and Cooper were both Oscar nominated and Max Steiner won for Best Music. Now, Voyager was Bette Davis’ biggest box office hit of the ’40s. It was added to the National Film Registry in 2007. 35mm archival print, 117 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
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Start: 24 Apr 2017 | End: 18 Apr 2018