While doing research about The 7th Voyage of Sinbad for my last post I discovered, thanks to this 2008 post on Cartoon Brew, that in 2008 a home movie taken in 1956 at Disneyland titled “Disneyland Dream” was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in what Home Brew refers to as “one of the oddest choices LoC has ever made.” You can watch the movie in its entirety on the Internet Archive here.
What’s more, Andy Rush’s recent post features the film”These Amazing Shadows” couldn’t be more timely given it points to this documentary which is all about the National Film Registry and it’s cultural significance. Which begs the question why would they designate a 30 minute home movie taken by an unabashed amateur as a cultural treasure that needs to be preserved? The reason listed below is taken from the Wikipedia article:
The National Film Registry cited its “fantastical historical snapshots” of early Southern California and the budding importance of the home movies in “American cultural studies as they provide priceless and authentic record of time and place.”
This idea of home movies in the 50s and 60s as genre of films that archivists like Rick Prelinger have been championing for a while now is fascinating, and I wonder if the explosion of “home movies” since the advent of YouTube can even more clearly delineate and reinforce the cultural significance of such a genre given it is currently the engine that drives a large part of the culture we view online. Perhap’s another reason for its preservation is that it captures an eleven year old Steve Martin selling guidebooks (actually this is not really a reason because Steve Martin discovered this himself after the film was added to the list of historic films):
More and more I am thinking the film class I am imagining for the Spring 2013 semester might focus very specifically on the ideas of film preservation, the National Film Registry, and the selection process behind a number of the 575 films preserved in the Registry. It could be a very fun class to use this as a filter, and start limiting it to genres of films selected, seemingly odd choices like Disneyland Dream, number of Oscar winners selected, etc. It would be interesting to see how different the list of preserved films is from those that received Academy Awards.