Each year the National Film Preservation Board of The Library of Congress names 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant films to the National Film Registry, a collection of movies selected to be preserved for all time. In previous years, Chuck Jones’ What’s Opera Doc?, Bob Clampett’s Porky In Wackyland, Fleischer’s Snow White (1933), Pixar’s Toy Story and many Disney titles, including Steamboat Willie and Three Little Pigs, have made the grade.
This year there were only two films selected with a connection to animation. The first was Blake Edward’s 1964 feature film, The Pink Panther – the film which introduced Friz Freleng/Hawley Pratt’s iconic cartoon character (see the original trailer above). When it was first released, the animated titles garnered better reviews than the movie itself! It led to a long running series of theatrical shorts and numerous TV series for producers DePatie-Freleng.
The other film honored was Mary Ellen Bute’s experimental short Tarantella (1940). Bute was a pioneering avant-garde animator of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, who frequently combined classical music with abstract images. She collaborated with electronic musician Leon Theremin and was one of the first to create films, before computers, using electronically generated images. The short bio-film below offers many clips from her films, and quotes from John Canemaker and Cecile Starr:
The complete list of 2010 National Film Registry honorees is posted HERE.