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Saving Our Crumbling Film Heritage

The National Film Registry is preserving movies

A fascinating new documentary, These Amazing Shadows, celebrates the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, which is devoted to preserving important American movies—from Gone with the Wind to that famous Let’s All Go to the Lobby intermission plug.

The film premieres nationally on PBS December 29 as part of the series Independent Lens.

See also: 2011 Top Ten Movies for Grownups

Shadows includes not only clips from many of your favorite movies, but commentary from directors, preservationists, critics and others about why America's film heritage is at risk and how it can be saved. The Library of Congress has created a new facility for this purpose in rural Virginia, built into a mountainside that includes a bunker where the federal government used to store money that could be used in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.

It's there, in Culpeper, Virginia, where much of the hard, and surprisingly dangerous work of preserving the fragile and flammable heritage of America's movie industry is going on. Below, enjoy a trailer and a clip from These Amazing Shadows.

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