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Airplane! lands in Library of Congress

A crazy Canadian’s slapstick classic has vaulted into the ranks of “culturally significant” U.S. films.

A crazy Canadian’s slapstick classic has vaulted into the ranks of “culturally significant” U.S. films.

Leslie Nielsen’s 1980 “Don’t call me Shirley” flick Airplane! is among 25 named yesterday at the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress.

Robert Altman’s 1971 McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther (1964), and Spike Lee’s biography Malcolm X (1992) also joined the list, the Hollywood Reporter said.

Both Nielsen and Edwards have died within the last month.

Airplane! is honoured as a “sharply perceptive parody of the big-budget disaster films that dominated Hollywood during the 1970s.”

The librarian of Congress each year picks 25 films to be added to the registry because they are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.

“The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority because about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90 per cent of those made before 1920 have been lost to future generations,” James Billington, the librarian of Congress, was quoted as saying.

Billington’s pre-1950 choices included W. C. Fields’s 1934 It’s A Gift, which “survived a perilous preservation history,” the early sound movie The Front Page (1931), the experimental 1891 film Newark Athlete and Eli Kazan’s first feature A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1945).

 
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