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These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America

n , a , Paul Mariano , Kurt Norton  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: n, a
  • Directors: Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,534 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

2011 official Sundance Film Festival selection. Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Culturally, Historically, Aesthetically, Significant January 16, 2012
The films in this documentary are part of the National Film Registry.

The subject of coloring old films is discussed.
This leads to the National film Preservation Act to create the national film registry.
The American film crates a sense of nationhood.

The real problem with this documentary is that it is in less than 5 second sound and picture bytes. They never complete a thought before moving on to the next. There I s no coherence in the train of thought or presentation. The bites have great sounds but no follow-up as to what those bits are trying to say.

It would have been better presented with ether fewer speakers of let one speaker finish before the next begins.

They do slow down for the courtroom speech from "To Kill a Mockingbird"

How many of these narrators do you know?

Jeff Adachi (Filmmaker)
Dr. James H. Billington (Librarian of Congress)
Robin Blaetz (Chair of Film Studies, Mount Holyoke College)
Brooks Boliek (Journalist)
Charles Burnett (Director, Killer of Sheep)
Jay Carr (National Film Preservation Board)
Martin Cohen (President of Post Production, Paramount Pictures)
Peter Coyote (Actor, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)
Arlene Damron (daughter of Director- Dave Tatsuno: Topaz (1945 documentary))
Julie Dash (Director, Daughters of the Dust)
Allen Daviau, ASC (Cinematographer)
Caleb Deschanel, ASC (Cinematographer)
Zooey Deschanel (Actress) describes wizard of OZ
Kristine Fong
Robert A.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary for Film Lovers! October 21, 2011
Every year, 25 films are added to the National Film Registry to be preserved at the Library of Congress. This is a fascinating documentary that uses the Film Registry as a springboard to discuss American film culture. Some very talented filmmakers are included in the discussion - Christopher Nolan, John Lasseter, and Rob Reiner are some notable directors who appear in this film. The film also includes the thoughts and reflections of various actors, critics, and historians.

Many documentaries, particularly ones that consist mostly of interviews, tend to get tedious and boring. But the film (88 minutes long) has a brisk pace and moves along quickly (but without feeling too rushed).

One of my favorite aspects of the film is the original score by Peter Golub. The music really adds to the sense of nostalgia you feel while watching the documentary. It is available for purchase now, and I highly recommend it.

The blu-ray will include the following bonus material:
- Lost Forever, a look at film preservation, restoration, and more
- Live from Prague: Recording the Score
- These Amazing Shadows at Sundance
- Outtakes
- Alternate and Deleted Scenes
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
MUST see documentary on the Movies - and the Bonus Features are important too!

In 1988, Congress passed the National Film Preservation Act and with it the National Film Preservation Board, under the auspices of the Librarian of Congress (James Billington). In 1989 the NFPB chose the first group of 25 films for its Registry and, to date 550 films of all types and periods, have been chosen to be preserved in their original form. This includes well-known films like "The Godfather", and "The Wizard of Oz" to pieces of home movies.

The feature film on this DVD was produced in 2011 and presented at Sundance - as well as an airing on PBS. It is essential viewing by anyone who watches movies. While there is significant discussion of why films deteriorate or why a film is "culturally important", this documentary is crafted so it is entertaining as well. Film critics and authors on film are interviewed, but so are celebrities like directors John Waters (hilarious) and Rob Reiner. The real "star" is someone you've never heard of: Library of Congress archivist George Willeman. Looking, and sounding, like a cross between Michael Moore and Roger Ebert, Willeman is the guy in charge of the rare Nitrate film vaults at the modern Packard Campus that the Library of Congress opened in Culpepper, VA about six years ago. He will make you smile and really appreciate film history.

The film has an original score by composer Peter Golub, whose soundtrack could easily stand on its own on a CD.

One of the parts I enjoyed most is the one on censorship, where it shows how recently found footage was able to restore the 1930s film "Baby Face" which had been destroyed by heavy censorship editing. And you'll discover new films to seek out and watch.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing shadows indeed December 26, 2012
THESE AMAZING SHADOWS (2011, 55 minutes for PBS) is one of those immortal and absolutely necessary little documentaries that doesn't exactly cover our history or views - but it covers a most vital way in which we express those things.

This documentary, while revealing very little, explains America's National Film Registry, which I believe is in the Library of Congress. Each year, only 25 motion pictures are chose to the Registry, picked by the National Film Preservation Board but the documentary tells us may be nominated by almost anyone.

We are shown snippets of films in the registry, from what you might expect - The Wizard of Oz, It's A Wonderful Life, The Godfather - to totally unknown indie films and old documentaries. One that impressed me was a 1916 silent film by the great but forgotten Lois Weber, one of many important female writer/directors before women got booted out of the filmmaking industry. Weber's contribution in the Registry is WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN?, included in the set Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934, an emotional account of abortion and all the concomitant issues.

This work also addresses the restoration of film by utilizing THE GODFATHER as a prime example. The way it was shot was done so that no one could change its light or color values. It is a dark, foreboding film that was guaranteed to remain so.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Preserving American History Through Film
This was a really interesting look at American history through the lens of film. I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the preservation of culture history or who has a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by electric_lili
3.0 out of 5 stars good quality, fun movie
It was a cool movie, though a little hollywood worshipping. The streaming quality was acceptable, and I had no problems really with the playback, and I have DSL.
Published 6 months ago by Charles Chadwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I love film and this was a great review and history. If you do not like film esp. old films do not bother
Published 7 months ago by Rebecca Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars These Amazing Shadows-great documentary!!
Great movie showing all genres of film. Very interesting to see what needs to happen in order for a Film to be registered. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Buff
If you are a film buff and amateur film historian you will enjoy this stroll down film history lane. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Auburn Cinefile Society
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love movies
This is the film for you.. Shows what is culturally important in a movie, and why.. Every film student should see this..
Published 10 months ago by Norman Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Great study of early cinema history!
Fantastic look at the early history of cinema, and the efforts involved in the preservation and conservation of our earliest films.
Published 10 months ago by D. G. Peacock
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent film about film & its impact on the fabric of society as we know it. Well done, referenced & told by many throughout the business.
Published 11 months ago by nadair042
5.0 out of 5 stars You have no idea how good this is (but you will).
If you're at all interested in the history of American movies, or just American movies, or just America - buy this.
Published 11 months ago by Doctor John
5.0 out of 5 stars See This Documentary!
A well spent hour and a half you won't regret. It made me want to see so many old films I hadn't seen in years, had never seen, or had forgotten about. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Nevada Lee
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