This section of the guide connects researchers with the Library's Moving Image Research Center and its online resources.
The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) is responsible for the acquisition, cataloging, and preservation of the Library's motion picture and television collections. The Moving Image Research Center, home to one of the largest collections of motion pictures in the world, provides access and information services to an international community of film and television professionals, archivists, scholars, and researchers. Moving Image holdings complement the audio recordings served in the Recorded Sound Research Center.
The films described and featured on this page are maintained and preserved by the Moving Image Research Center. Contact a moving image specialist to inquire about holdings, viewing appointments, and related questions.
The Library of Congress began collecting motion pictures in 1893 when Thomas Edison and his brilliant assistant W.K.L. Dickson deposited the Edison Kinetoscopic Records for copyright. However, because of the difficulty of safely storing the flammable nitrate film used at the time, the Library retained only the descriptive material relating to motion pictures. In 1942, recognizing the importance of motion pictures and the need to preserve them as a historical record, the Library began the collection of the films themselves; from 1949 on these included films made for television. Today the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) is responsible for the acquisition, cataloging and preservation of the Library's motion picture and television collections.
The National Screening Room showcases the riches of the Library's vast moving image collection, designed to make otherwise unavailable movies, both copyrighted and in the public domain, accessible to the viewers worldwide. The majority of titles in the National Screening Room are freely available as both 5MB MP4 and ProRes 422 MOV/Quicktime downloads.
The following list offers examples of relevant films available in the National Screening Room collection:
The Kaye/Fine Collection documents the careers of entertainer Danny Kaye and composer/writer Sylvia Fine, a dynamic husband-wife duo who enhanced musical comedy on stage and screen. In addition to the scripts, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and other paper documents, the collection includes film footage. A portion of the collection's videos are available to watch streaming via The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Digital Collection.
The video below is a clip from Sylvia Fine's Musical Comedy Tonight II, filmed on February 11, 1981. The Musical Comedy series, produced by Fine, was based on a series of lectures about musical comedy that she taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University.
Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) was a Russian-born conductor, arranger, and pianist known for juxtaposing popular and classical repertoire in radio broadcasts during the 1930s and 1940s. The Andre Kostelanetz Digital Collection focuses on Kostelanetz's role in American music, particularly what is known as the Kostelanetz sound, by presenting recordings, broadcasts, scores, and interviews selected from the Kostelanetz Collection.
One of two videos included in the digital collection, the video below features Kostelanetz conducting an unnamed military orchestra in a medley of musical theater selections: