‘Kid­nap­pers Foil’ added to film reg­istry

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - By Charles Ealy cealy@states­man.com Con­tact Charles Ealy at 4453931.

Dal­las film­maker Mel­ton Barker’s “The Kid­nap­pers Foil” was added to the Na­tional Film Reg­istry on Wed­nes­day, tak­ing its place among 24 other films deemed this year to be “cul­tur­ally, his­tor­i­cally or aes­thet­i­cally” sig­nif­i­cant.

Caro­line Frick of the Austin-based Texas Ar­chive of the Mov­ing Im­age has played a key role in col­lect­ing ver­sions of the film, which Barker made in var­i­ous towns through Texas, Penn­syl­va­nia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Ne­braska from the 1930s to the 1950s. An itin­er­ant film­maker, Barker would go to a town and cast lo­cal chil­dren in a short film about kid­nap­pers who are hold­ing a young girl for ran­som. But other chil­dren would rise up and save the day. The shorts would play in ad­vance of reg­u­lar movies and lo­cal au­di­ences would flock to the the­aters to see their chil­dren on the big screen.

Eight ver­sions of the movie are avail­able at the Texas Ar­chive of the Mov­ing Im­age, at www. tex­as­archive.org.

“The Kid­nap­pers Foil” se­ries touched the lives of thou­sands of chil­dren and their fam­i­lies across the United States, pro­vid­ing unique op­por­tu­ni­ties to see them­selves on the big screen, Frick said. “We hope that the news of its se­lec­tion to the reg­istry will ex­em­plify the value of th­ese so-called ‘lo­cal’ films to the en­tire coun­try and will lead to the dis­cov­ery of lost ver­sions of Barker’s work.”

“The Kid­nap­pers Foil” was one of the lesser­known movies added to the Na­tional Film Reg­istry. Other movies marked for preser­va­tion on Wed­nes­day in­clude “Break­fast at Tif­fany’s,” “Dirty Harry,” “A Christ­mas Story,” “The Ma­trix” and “A League of Their Own.”

Congress cre­ated the pro­gram in 1989, and the lat­est ad­di­tions bring the reg­istry to 600 films. Each ti­tle named to the reg­istry will be pre­served in the li­brary’s Packard Cam­pus for Au­dio Vis­ual Con­ser­va­tion, built par­tially in a bunker in Culpeper, Va., or through col­lab­o­ra­tions with other ar­chives or stu­dios.

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