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'Butch Cassidy' added to national film registry

'National Velvet,' 'Patton' also to be preserved in Library of Congress
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Western outlaw romp “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and the more obscure “The Chechahcos,” with its frenzied dogsled pursuits in Alaska, have been added to the National Film Registry.

“Butch Cassidy,” the 1969 movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, joins the 1924 independent film that was the first feature movie produced in Alaska, along with the 1974 documentary “Antonia: Portrait of the Woman” and 22 other films selected this year for preservation by the Library of Congress.

Also included were “National Velvet,” a 1944 film starring Elizabeth Taylor as a young girl who wants her horse to run in the Grand National Steeplechase; the 1928 silent comedy “Show People” starring Marion Davies, and “Patton,” the 1970 movie starring George C. Scott as the famed Army general, George S. Patton.

The registry, established by Congress in the 1988 National Film Preservation Act, now contains 375 films.

Each year 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant motion pictures are added to the registry, the library said in a statement Tuesday. This year’s selections span the years 1894 to 1988.

“Our film heritage is America’s living past,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Tuesday. “It celebrates the creativity and inventiveness of diverse communities and our nation as a whole.”

By preserving films, he said, “we safeguard a significant element of our cultural history.”

The 1934 movie “Tarzan and His Mate,” with Tarzan and Jane battling poachers in the jungle; “White Heat,” a 1949 gangster film starring James Cagney, and the short animation “Tin Toy” from Pixar Studios in 1988 also made the list.

Other movies included “The Hunters,” a 1957 film chronicling a giraffe hunt by Kalahari Desert tribesmen, and the 1926 tongue-in-cheek adventure-romance “The Son of the Sheik.”

Billington lauded two of the library’s big developments in the film preservation area: the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center to open in 2005, and the Moving Image Collections program.