WASHINGTON — Just in time for a new movie about the making of "Mary Poppins," the 1964 Disney classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress so future generations of Americans can see it.
On Wednesday, the library is inducting 25 films into the National Film Registry to be preserved for their cultural, historical or cinematic significance. This year's selections include Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," the space race film "The Right Stuff," and Michael Moore's documentary confronting the auto industry, "Roger and Me."
Curators said it was a coincidence that they selected "Mary Poppins" just ahead of its 50th anniversary and during the release of the new Disney film "Saving Mr. Banks," which is about the making of the movie. Steve Leggett, program coordinator for the library's National Film Preservation Board, said "Mary Poppins" had been on the short list of picks many times before.
"It's just a title that everyone has seen and recognizes, and the musical numbers and just the Julie Andrews and the shim-shim-a-ree — it's just become a real, imbued part of our culture," he said.
The films chosen this year span from 1919 to 2002 and include Hollywood classics, documentaries, silent films, independent flicks and experimental pictures. Congress created the program in 1989 to ensure that gems from American movie history are preserved for years to come.
Some are chosen for their influence on movies that would follow, as with "Pulp Fiction" from 1994. The film board called it a milestone for independent cinema, and Leggett noted Tarantino's "stylized violence and kind of strangeness" in the cinematography.
Older films often become endangered of being lost, said Librarian of Congress James Billington, "so we must protect the nation's matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity."
This year's selections represent the "extreme vitality and diversity of American film heritage," Leggett said. Many illustrate American culture and society from their times, he said.