[Above] The Art Deco Mount Pony Theater operated by the Library of Congress
With archive materials housed in five separate location,the audio-visual department of the Library of Congress has now unified their collection in Culpeper, Virginia, approximately 70 miles to the west of Washington DC. Inheriting a radiation hardened facility at Mount Pony from its former owners the Federal Reserve Board, the location has been redesigned and rebuilt with a state of the art Art-Deco 200-seat movie theater.
Originally built in 1969 to act as an emergency headquarters and a high-security currency warehouse, the facility features a 400 foot long steel reinforced bunker with 30-centimeter thicks walls and lead-lined shutters for its windows. In 1997 the United States Congress approved the transfer to the Library of Congress, and funded by a private foundation, has set up the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, featuring 90 miles of shelving for the extensive collection of film elements, video tape, photographs, recordings and odds-and-ends chronicling the film and recording arts in America.
The collection is home to more than 1.1 million film, television, and video items, and 3.5 million audio recordings. Motion pictures date from the 1890s, and audio recordings date back 110 years.
The Library of Congress runs two movie theatres:
The Mary Pickford Theatre on the 3rd floor of the Madison Building in Washington DC (schedule online)
The Mount Pony Movie Theater near Culpeper, Virginia (schedule online)
Library of Congress Online A/V Conservation Home Page
3 Days of the Conder, 1975 - Robert Redford as CIA analyst Joe Turner, trapped between warring factions within the CIA itself. Confused by why everyone is shooting at him, he goes on the run with kidnapped Faye Dunnaway in tow.
Easy Living, 1937 - Jean Arthur is the poor Mary Smith who is suddenly the object of every salesman in town trying to gain access to the wealthy, all because of her impromptu friendship with millionaire investor J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold) who she meets by accident when he tosses his wife's fur coat off the top of an apartment building. Classic screwball comedy with script from Preston Sturges.
The Alligator People, 1959 - Tragic case of a man slowly becoming an alligator, and his determined wife (Beverly Garland) who wants to find him (he's in hiding) and get answers. With Lon Chaney Jr as a maniacal alligator hunter in the bayou. Appeared the same year as the famous Elizabeth Taylor film Suddenly Last Summer, and shares many remarkable similarities.
Heaven Knows, Mr Allison - 1957 - Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. He's a marine and she's a nun on a Japanese occupied island during World War II.
The Quiet Man, 1952 - John Ford's comic masterpiece (which he was afraid he had botched while filming it in Ireland) with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara as newlyweds who must battle their village and themselves to achieve any peace.
Bachelor Mother 1939 - He's (Niven) the son of the owner (Coburn) of a department store who thinks he's doing a good deed by reuniting an employee (Ginger Rogers) with her child given up to an orphanage. Only the kid isn't hers, and nothing she does can convince anyone.
The Lady Eve - 1941 - Preston Sturges directed this most stately of his farcical comedies as a direct challenge to tailor a film around the wit of Barbara Stanwyck. He provides so much ammo she needs to play two characters in the tale, with a befuddled Henry Fonda in tow.
Night of the Hunter 1955 - British arch-actor Charles Laughton directed only one film, and it features Robert Mitchum as a demented and homicidal preacher (with "love" and "hate" tattooed upon his hands) who is trying to chase down a pair of orphaned children who know the location of hidden bank loot. The only thing standing in his way is a determined Lillian Gish and her shotgun.
China Seas - 1935 w/Clark Gable and Jean Harlow - He's a rugged steam ship captain who wants to upgrade from the trampy Miss Harlow to the respectable Rosiland Russell. But pirates, a typhoon and a treacherous Wallace Berry turn Gable's world upside-down.
Jaws vs. The Creature from the Black Lagoon - Surface similarities between the two films and the sub-genre of "scuba-movies" from the 1950s.
Dracula vs Dracula - English & Spanish versions - The stylish similarities and differences between Tod Browning's 1931 king vampire film and the version shot at night on the same set, in Spanish, by a different director.