10 Films That Should Be on the National Film Registry

Earlier this week, the Library of Congress announced its annual additions to the National Film Registry. This year, unfortunately, the choices smelled of woke politics – there were a glut of obscure and, quite frankly, unworthy films that were only included because they were not directed by white men – coupled with some cheesy popcorn flicks that fell far short of the “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” definition that is supposed to be Registry’s judging criteria.

Rather than pick apart each dismal selection on this year’s Registry, here is an attempt to talk up some far more deserving titles for consideration in the 2021 slate. In chronological order, here are 10 films that should be on the National Film Registry.

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Bela Lugosi in White Zombie

Bela Lugosi is back in the “Online Movie Show” spotlight with a special episode devoted entirely to the landmark 1932 “White Zombie.” Our guest is award-winning writer Brad A. Braddock, author of “Memoirs of Murder: A Prequel to the 1932 classic, White Zombie” (published by Arcane Shadows Press).

The episode can be heard here.


The Bootleg Files: White Zombie

BOOTLEG FILES 708: “White Zombie” (1932 horror film starring Bela Lugosi).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A copyright infringement accusation at the beginning of its production and a lapsed copyright after its release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There has yet to be a truly pristine commercial release of this title.

When “White Zombie” opened in New York in 1932, the critics were scathing in their denunciations. Words like “ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “failure” and “Worst Movie of 1932” peppered the reviews. And while the critical slams did not scare away audiences, it nonetheless saddled the film with a negative reputation that required decades of repeated screenings and new generations of film scholars to mitigate the initial wave of abuse.
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