AFI Catalog of Feature Films

Last updated

The AFI Catalog of Feature Films, also known as the AFI Catalog, [1] is an ongoing project by the American Film Institute (AFI) to catalog all commercially-made and theatrically exhibited American motion pictures from the birth of cinema in 1893 to the present. It began as a series of hardcover books known as The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures, [1] and subsequently became an exclusively online filmographic database.

Contents

Each entry in the catalog typically includes the film's title, physical description, production and distribution companies, production and release dates, cast and production credits, a plot summary, song titles, and notes on the film's history. The films are indexed by personal credits, production and distribution companies, year of release, and major and minor plot subjects.

To qualify for the "Feature Films" volumes, a film must have been commercially produced either on American soil or by an American company. In accordance with the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF; French: Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film), the film must have also been given a theatrical release in 35 mm or larger gauge to the general public, with a running time of at least 40 minutes (or a length of at least four reels). With that said, the Catalog has included over 17,000 short films (those less than 40 minutes/four reels) from the first era of filmmaking (1893–1910).

The print version comprises five volumes documenting all films produced in the United States from 1892 to 1993, while new records are created by the AFI editorial team and added each year to the online database. [2]

History

In 1965, the "Arts and Humanities Bill" was signed into law by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson; it established the American Film Institute (AFI), as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As there was no existing listings of films of the past—making preservation an immediate concern—the Bill obliged the AFI to build a new "catalog" of feature films that would protect cultural history from being lost in obscurity or disappearing entirely. [1]

In 1967, the AFI officially began operation, documenting the first century of American filmmaking through the AFICatalog of Feature Films. [1] [2] The Catalog would be the very first scholarly listing of American films, "with academically vetted information about the existence, availability and sources of motion pictures already produced, spanning the entirety of the art form since 1893." [1]

From 1968 to 1971, AFI researched film production between 1921 and 1930 (i.e., the 1920s). The first AFI Catalog was published thereafter in 1971 by the University of California Press; the publication featured, as encyclopedic volumes, the records for every American feature film released during the 1920s' period. [1] [3]

Hardcover publications

The Catalog began as a series of hardcover books known as The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures, published by the University of California Press(excluding vol. A) from 1971 to 1993. [1] [4]

The print version comprises seven volumes documenting all films produced in the United States from 1892 to 1970. [2] The publication of the hardcover volumes was suspended due to budgetary reasons after volume F4 (1941–50) in 1997. Feature films released from 1951 to 1960 and from 1971 to 1993 have been cataloged only in the online database.

Hardcover volumes [3]
Publication dateVolumeTitlePeriod coveredNotes
1995AFilm Beginnings, 1893–19101893–1910Compiled by Elias Savada, published by University Press of America (ISBN 0-8108-3021-3) [3]

Subtitled "A Work in Progress" due to the scant information available on many films released in this era. Foreign-made films are included if they were released by American companies.[ citation needed ]

1971F1Feature Films, 1911–1920 [5] 1911–20Edited by Patricia King Hanson (ISBN 0-520-06301-5)
1971F2Feature Films, 1921–19301921–30Edited by Kenneth Mundin.
1993F3Feature Films, 1931–1940 [6] 1931–40Edited by Patricia King Hanson.

With this volume, the project began to include plot summaries written especially for the catalog from viewing the movie itself, whenever possible, instead of relying on plot summaries taken from copyright registrations, studio publicity materials, or reviews.[ citation needed ]

1997F4Feature Films, 1941–19501941–50Edited by Patricia King Hanson.
1976F6Feature Films, 1961–19701961–70Edited by Richard Krafsur (ISBN 9780913616451)

Due to the large number of co-productions between American and foreign companies in the 1960s, and the difficulty of determining any particular film's nationality, this volume includes all feature films released theatrically in the United States in that period. The hardcover edition includes pornographic features, although they have been excluded from the electronic database edition. Errors in the print editions have been carried over to the online version, despite published criticisms, and there is no means by which users can offer discussions or corrections.[ citation needed ]

1997Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-19601911–60Edited by Alan Gevinson.

This is the first of the AFI Catalog series to include films from more than one decade. It contains over 2500 feature-length films whose central components include racial and national ethnic experience in the United States, such as Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Broken Arrow (1950), Bright Victory (1951), Giant (1956), and The Defiant Ones (1958). This volume also includes various independent productions by African-American filmmakers and various ethnic and religious organizations. [7]

The project estimates that additional years will be cataloged at 6-month intervals. Film School students are offered the opportunity to provide plot synopses and original research, but input from other, experienced film researchers is not encouraged.[ citation needed ] The project will also eventually catalog short films (beyond 1910) and newsreels.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

American Film Institute Nonprofit educational arts organization devoted to film

The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of the motion picture arts in the United States. AFI is supported by private funding and public membership fees.

A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that also included a short film and often a newsreel.

Selznick International Pictures Defunct American film studio

Selznick International Pictures was a Hollywood motion picture studio created by David O. Selznick in 1935, and dissolved in 1943. In its short existence the independent studio produced two films that received the Academy Award for Best Picture—Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940)—and three that were nominated, A Star Is Born (1937), Since You Went Away (1944) and Spellbound (1945).

Laurence Trimble American film director

Laurence Norwood Trimble was an American silent film director, writer and actor. Trimble began his film career directing Jean, the Vitagraph Dog, the first canine to have a leading role in motion pictures. He made his acting debut in the 1910 silent Saved by the Flag, directed scores of films for Vitagraph and other studios, and became head of production for Florence Turner's independent film company in England (1913–1916). Trimble was most widely known for his four films starring Strongheart, a German Shepherd dog he discovered and trained that became the first major canine film star. After he left filmmaking he trained animals exclusively, particularly guide dogs for the blind.

Tom Ricketts English-American actor and director (1853–1939)

Thomas B. Ricketts was an English-born American stage and film actor and director who was a pioneer in the film industry. He portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge in the first American film adaptation of A Christmas Carol (1908), and directed one of the first motion pictures ever made in Hollywood. After directing scores of silent films, including the first film to be released by Universal Pictures, Ricketts became a prominent character actor.

Lambert Hillyer American film director

Lambert Harwood Hillyer was an American film director and screenwriter.

Cinerama Releasing Corporation (CRC) was a motion picture company established in 1967 that originally released films produced by its namesake parent company that was considered an "instant major".

<i>Jungle Man</i> (film) 1941 film by Harry L. Fraser

Jungle Man is a 1941 American film directed by Harry L. Fraser and starring Buster Crabbe in his first of many films for Producers Releasing Corporation. He is reunited with Charles B. Middleton from the Flash Gordon serials. Cinematographer and associate producer Mervyn Freeman (1890–1965) was an experienced newsreel cameraman.

United States copyright registrations, renewals, and other catalog entries since 1978 are published online at the U.S. Copyright Office website. Entries prior to 1978 are not published in the Online Catalog. Copyright registrations and renewals after 1890 were formerly published in semi-annual softcover catalogs called The Catalog of Copyright Entries or Copyright Catalog or published in microfiche.

George Stevens Jr. American film director

George Cooper Stevens Jr. is an American writer, author, playwright, director, and producer. He is the founder of the American Film Institute, creator of the AFI Life Achievement Award, and instigator/producer of the Kennedy Center Honors. Since 2009 he has served as Co-Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Accolades to date for his professional career include fourteen Emmys, eight Writers Guild awards, two Peabody Awards, the Humanitas Prize and an Honorary Academy Award.

<i>King, Queen, Joker</i> 1921 film

King, Queen, Joker is a 1921 American silent feature farce written and directed by Sydney Chaplin, the elder half-brother of Charlie Chaplin. The picture was produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed through Paramount Pictures. The film was shot in England, France, and the United States.

<i>Torment</i> (1924 film) 1924 film

Torment is a 1924 American silent film crime drama produced and directed by Maurice Tourneur and distributed by Associated First National. This film stars Bessie Love, Owen Moore, and Jean Hersholt. The film is based on a story by William Dudley Pelley with script by Fred Myton and titles by Marion Fairfax. It is a lost film.

Forty Thieves is a 1944 American Western film starring William Boyd in the lead role of Hopalong Cassidy. It was directed by Lesley Selander, produced by Harry Sherman and released by United Artists. This was the last Hopalong Cassidy film that producer Harry Sherman produced for United Artists.

<i>Stranded</i> (1916 drama film) 1916 silent film by Lloyd Ingraham

Stranded is a 1916 American silent drama film produced by Fine Arts Film Company and distributed by Triangle Film Corporation. The film stars DeWolf Hopper with newcomer Bessie Love in a supporting role. The film is considered lost.

<i>The Dawn of Understanding</i> 1918 film

The Dawn of Understanding is a lost 1918 American silent Western comedy film produced by The Vitagraph Company of America and directed by David Smith. It stars Bessie Love in the first film of her nine-film contract with Vitagraph. It is based on the short story "The Judgement of Bolinas Plain" by 19th-century Western writer Bret Harte.

Penrod and Sam is a 1923 American silent comedy-drama film directed by William Beaudine and starring Ben Alexander, Joe Butterworth, and Buddy Messinger. Wendy L. Marshall stated that "Beaudine had the Midas touch when it came to directing children" in films like this and Boy of Mine. In 1931, Beaudine directed a sound adaptation of the novel.

<i>If Im Lucky</i> (film) 1946 American comedy directed by Lewis Seiler

If I'm Lucky is a 1946 American musical comedy film directed by Lewis Seiler and starring Vivian Blaine, Perry Como, Phil Silvers and Carmen Miranda in the leading roles. The film also featured bandleader Harry James.

<i>Durand of the Bad Lands</i> (1925 film) 1925 film

Durand of the Bad Lands is a 1925 American silent Western film directed by Lynn Reynolds and starring Buck Jones, Marian Nixon, and Malcolm Waite. It is a remake of the 1917 film of the same title.

Come On, Cowboy! is a 1948 American Western film starring Mantan Moreland and Mauryne Brent. Goldmax Productions produced the film, and Toddy Pictures distributed it.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "About the AFI Catalog of Feature Films". American Film Institute . Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  2. 1 2 3 Cason, Daniela. "LibGuides: American Film Institute Catalog (AFI): Home". proquest.libguides.com. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  3. 1 2 3 http://www.ace-film.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/AFI-Catalog_Presentation2017_v03_Final.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  4. "The AFI Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States titles from University of California Press". www.ucpress.edu. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  5. Hanson, Patricia King. The American Film Institute catalog of motion pictures produced in the United States: feature films, 1911-1920, Vol. 1. University of California Press. ISBN   978-0-520-06301-3.
  6. The 1931–1940: American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States.
  7. https://books.google.com/books?id=bsoUXGZSxZcC