Reader poll winner | Scary movie edition 2018

The votes for the most recent reader poll are in… and the winner is 1958’s Horror of Dracula! Each film made a strong showing in the poll, which pleased me. 🙂

Fall 2018 reader poll results

So I will be watching and analyzing Horror of Dracula this week, and next Wednesday, I will be back with a film analysis post — stay tuned!

Horror of Dracula Official Trailer #1 – Christopher Lee Movie (1958) HD” video uploaded by Movieclips Classic Trailers, Standard YouTube license

Past reader poll winners

In the meantime, if you’d like to peruse previous reader poll winners, check out them out below:


Reader poll | Choose your next adventure (scary movie edition 2018)

If you’re a regular reader — as always, thank you! — then you know that I highlight scary movies every October. You’ll also know that every few months, I do a reader poll, when I ask readers to vote for the next film for me to analyze. This year, I’m combining both traditions again!

I’ve pulled together the following four scary movies, arranged alphabetically by title, and the poll is at the bottom of this post.

A Haunting at the Hoyt Library (2015)

A Haunting at the Hoyt ” World Wide Premiere! – Trailer #1” video uploaded by Haunted Saginaw, Standard YouTube license

This one’s a bit different from my usual round of choices, as it’s a documentary! Here’s the write-up from Amazon Prime:

For years, the Hoyt Library in Saginaw, Michigan, has made headlines as one of the most haunted locations in the entire Midwest. Finally, a documentary film crew was granted access to investigate the numerous claims of paranormal activity.

I don’t know if there are any *real* librarians featured or interviewed in this documentary, but it would be interesting to learn more about the hauntings at this public library!

I have access to watch a streaming version of this film via Amazon Prime.

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula Official Trailer #1 – Christopher Lee Movie (1958) HD” video uploaded by Movieclips Classic Trailers, Standard YouTube license

Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) poses as a librarian to catalog Count Dracula’s rare book collection—for an opportunity to kill Dracula (played by Christopher Lee). Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) battles Dracula in the castle’s library. A classic horror movie!

I have a copy of this film in my personal library.

Personals (TV, 1990)

Personals/City Killer promos & USA Network ID, 1989” video uploaded by Chuck D’s All-New Classic TV Clubhouse, Standard YouTube license

In this TV movie, Jennifer O’Neill plays a librarian who finds men through newspaper personal ads and kills them on the first date. A meek librarian by day, a killer by night!

I have a copy of this film in my personal library.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Movie Trailer – 1983 – Something Wicked This Way Comes” video uploaded by C64b, Standard YouTube license

Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) and his circus come to a small town and begin granting sinister wishes to the townsfolk. A boy (Vidal Peterson) and his father (Jason Robards), the town librarian, figure out what’s going on and challenge Mr. Dark. Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury.

I have a copy of this film in my personal library.

Now is the time to choose your next adventure, scary movie edition! What should I watch next? You decide!

The poll will stay open through this week, and I will reveal the winner on next Wednesday’s post. I will then analyze the winning film in a post the following Wednesday after that.

Browse through all my posts tagged “reader poll” if you’re interested in past reader polls.

Librarians save the day!

I recently came across this old Huffington Post piece entitled, “Librarians Save The Day! 11 Great Movies In Which They Star.”

Huffington Post article screenshot

Although the piece is from 2010 (!), I still thought it appropriate to highlight during Banned Books Week, an annual event that spotlights librarians’ and readers’ efforts to fight censorship and book-banning. This year, Banned Books Week takes place Sept. 23-29, with the theme of “Speak Out!”

Here are the 11 movies Huffington Post included in its post, full of reel librarians who did speak out and save the day! I’ve also included links to prior posts I’ve written on this blog about each film.

1. The Music Man (1962)

Marian the Librarian (Shirley Jones) foils the plans of conman Harold Hill (Robert Preston) when she asks the school board about his background and credentials.

I’ve written before about here in this “Marian or Marion?” posthere in this “Marian and Ms. Jones” post, and included it in the updated “Best Picture nominees featuring librarians” post.

03_Marian The Librarian,” uploaded by Night Owl TV, Standard YouTube license

2. The Mummy (1999)

Evie Carnahan literally saves EVERYONE in this action adventure film, while also demonstrating pride of her librarian/archivist/Egyptologist roots in the famous drunken “I am a librarian!” scene.

I’ve analyzed the film and Evie’s heroic role here in this “Revisiting the reel librarian hero in 1999’s ‘The Mummy'” post.

The Mummy library scene – Rachel Weisz,” uploaded by Veronique Laurent, Standard YouTube license

3. Party Girl (1995)

Parker Posey stars as a party girl who redeems herself — and finds her true purpose in life! — by working at a library for her “librarian godmother” who bailed her out of jail.

I’ve highlighted Party Girl’s style here in this “Stylish female reel librarians” post and highlighted the call number musical scene here in this “Musical numbers for the library-minded” round-up post.

Librarian Lays Down the Law,” uploaded by evilkingdedede, Standard YouTube license

4. National Treasure (2004)

The Huffington Post gallery highlights how Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) “[s]eeking a treasure the founding fathers buried, he enlists the help of Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), the curator of the National Archives.” That’s DR. CHASE, thank you very much!

Although Dr. Chase is a reel archivist, and not technically a reel librarian, I do applaud the inclusion of this character on this list. She is a total badass! And I recently explored Dr. Chase’s role in two recent posts, here in the “Get out your white gloves and lemon juice! Reel archivist in ‘National Treasure'” post and here in the “A reel archivist returns in ‘National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets’” post.

National Treasure,” uploaded by YouTube Movies, Standard YouTube license

5. Desk Set (1957)

Huffington Post gets it wrong when they state, “When Spencer Tracey becomes the new supervisor, the librarians get angry and the sparks start to fly.” Tracey does NOT become the new library supervisor; rather, he is an efficiency expert tasked to evaluate a TV network’s research library. Katharine Hepburns plays the head librarian in this film — which is one of my personal favorites!

I have written about this film several times on this Reel Librarians blog, including:

Desk Set 1957 math quiz,” uploaded by Antoinette Marchese Powell, Standard YouTube license

6. Foul Play (1978)

Another one of my favorite reel librarian leads! Goldie Hawn plays the lead role, a librarian, who unwittingly finds herself mixed up in a deadly murder plot, and teams up with Chevy Chase in this comic action-mystery film. She shows real spunkiness and creativity to get herself out of scrapes!

I included this film in my “Best librarian films by decade, Part II: 1960s-2000s” post and in my “Hall of Fame” list.

Goldie Hawn e William Frankfather – Foul Play (1978),” uploaded by Felipe Nobrega, Standard YouTube license

7. Storm Center (1956)

Bette Davis stars in this film as small-town librarian Alicia Hull, who refuses to remove a controversial book from the library and stands up to censorship. This film is loosely based on events that happened to real-life librarian Ruth Brown, who was the public librarian at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Public Library, for over 30 years.

I included Storm Center in my “Reel librarian in political-themed films” round-up.

Let’s celebrate both the reel AND real librarian heroes who stand up to and speak out about censorship!

Storm Center (1956) – Just one book,” uploaded by 1956clips, Standard YouTube license

8. Miranda (2002)

A male reel librarian hero! This film stars John Simm whose library is being torn down. When a mysterious woman, played by Christina Ricci, comes into the library, he becomes romantically involved with her — and tracks her down when she goes missing.

I analyzed this film here in this “Special double feature: Miranda and the bibliothecaire” post, which also featured a French librarian blogger’s perspective on the film! Definitely worth a read (or a re-read!) for the dual librarian perspectives of this reel librarian film.

Miranda – John Simm” uploaded by JohnSimmSociety, Standard YouTube license

9. Peeping Tom (1960)

Anna Massey plays a librarian who befriends a neighbor, who turns out to be “compulsive murderer on a mission to make a documentary about fear.” Yikes. She does have a hand in bringing his crimes to light.

I included this film in my post of “banned reel librarian movies” and in my “Victims or villains? Librarians in horror films & thrillers” post.

The controversial film Peeping Tom–a review and analysis of the 1960 shocker by Michael Powell” uploaded by Johnny B, Standard YouTube license

10. The Station Agent (2003)

In this movie, “A man born with dwarfism moves to New Jersey after the death of his best friend. There, he becomes friends with a hot dog vendor and Emily, a divorced librarian (played by Michelle Williams).”

It’s a beautiful film, which I included in my “Best librarian films by decade, Part II: 1960s-2000s” post.

The Station Agent | ‘Friends’ (HD) – Peter Dinklage, Michelle Williams | MIRAMAX,” uploaded by Miramax, Standard YouTube license

11. “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear” (2004)

I’m so glad this TV movie made the list! Noah Wyle stars as Flynn Carson, aka “THE Librarian.” This TV movie spawned two TV movie sequels, as well as a spin-off TV series, “The Librarians.”

I analyzed Flynn Carson’s “Liberated Librarian” role in my “Quest for the ‘Liberated Librarian'” post, and I included the series in my “Best librarian films by decade, Part II: 1960s-2000s” post. I also highlighted Carson’s style in my “Stylish male reel librarians” post.

The Librarian Quest for the Spear,” uploaded by umlugarinthesun, Standard YouTube license

Any favorites here of yours here? Please leave a comment and share.

And please revisit my “list of banned reel librarian movies” post that I wrote for last year’s Banned Books Week!


Reel Librarians turns 7!

Reel Librarians celebrates its 7th blog anniversary this week! I published my first post on Reel Librarians back on September 19th, 2011, with the “Where do I begin? A love story.” post, which also details how my interest in reel librarians began.

Reel Librarians turns 7!

Reel Librarians turns 7!

Quick stats comparison:

Looking back over the previous “blog anniversary” posts, below is an update on how this blog has grown:

(1 year)

(7 years)

Total views:  19,000+  235,000+
Total visitors:  900+ 160,500+
Total comments:  165 628
Total posts:  153 posts + 21 pages  467 posts + 21 pages
Total shares: 121 4,500+
Daily visits, average:  65 123
Total followers:  45  428

Previous blog anniversary posts:

Top 10 most popular posts this past year:

  1. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene — a 2017 post with over 4,000 views this past year
  2. Marian or Marion? — a 2012 post with over 1,700 views this past year
  3. Librarian t-shirt collection — a 2014 post with over 1,400 views this past year
  4. Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ — a 2017 post new to this list, with almost 1,400 views this past year
  5. The Jedi librarian — a perennial favorite from 2013 with over 1,300 views this year
  6. Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away) — a 2012 post with almost 1,300 views this past year
  7. The Killing Kind vs. The Attic —  a 2013 post still going strong with almost 1,000 views this year
  8. You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian — this 2015 post has collected almost 900 views this year
  9. Harry Potter and Madam Pince — this 2012 post has magicked up over 850 views this year
  10. First impressions:  Monsters University — this 2013 post garnered almost 650 views this past year

Thank you all for reading, whether it’s your first or seventh year! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

A reel archivist returns in ‘National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets’

Last week, I dived deep into the archivist’s role in 2004’s National Treasure… so it should come as no surprise that this week, it feels fitting to explore the 2007 sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.

Here’s a snippet of the sequel’s plot, from the back of the DVD:

This film “[t]akes you on a globe-trotting quest full of adrenaline-pumping twists and turns — all leading to the final club in a mysterious and highly guarded book containing centuries of secrets. But there’s only one way to find it — Ben Gates must kidnap the President.”

So… in the first film, Ben Gates steals the Declaration of Independence; in the sequel, he “upgrades” to kidnapping the President. Okaaaaaaaaaaay.


Here’s a trailer for National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets:

NATIONAL TREASURE 2: BOOK OF SECRETS (2007) – Official Movie Trailer,” uploaded by soundfan, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License

What do I like about the film?

That the word “book” is in the movie’s subtitle, that Helen Mirren co-stars in the sequel (she plays an expert on ancient Native American languages), and that the Library of Congress also gets a co-starring role! 😉

What do I NOT like about the film?

Uh, everything else. The talented cast is wasted in this paint-by-numbers, pedestrian action film. And it’s not just me! The film “earned” two Razzie Award nominations:  Worst Actor for Nicolas Cage and Worst Supporting Actor for Jon Voight.

Bookstore scene:

Eight minutes into the film, we get a wide shot of a scene that’s clearly set in a bookstore (not a library!). The sidekick, Riley (Justin Bartha), has written a book, and it’s clear he’s trying to cash in on the fame. (But the book he’s written will be an important plot point later.)

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

You’re no Indiana Jones, dude.

However, no one’s really interested in the sidekick.

Trouble in (archives) paradise:

We also learn early one that Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) and Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger, downgraded from 2nd billing in the first film to 3rd billing in the sequel, boo!) have broken up. But Gates needs to break into her house because of PLOT reasons that have something to do with John Wilkes Booth, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the reputation of the Gates family.

As Gates puts it, “I need to get Abigail’s ID. She has access to the Booth diary page.”

Long story short, they do break in, and Gates pulls open Abigail’s desk drawer to grab her ID badge… which now reads “Library of Congress.”

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Abigail Chase’s Library of Congress ID

There’s no explanation given, but it’s clear that Chase has moved from the National Archives to the Library of Congress within the previous three years. My thoughts for the reason why? Because of PLOT. 😉

And OF COURSE Chase comes home early — she’s been on a date! — and we get to see her all gussied up in a fancy dress and heels. She’s been on a date with the “White House curator” (another reel archivist?), and here’s his reaction to her home:

ConnorWow. You work in a museum, and you live in one.

ChasePretty much.

Caught red-handed breaking into her house, Gates tries to smooth-talk his way out of the situation, but Chase sees right through him. The resulting conversation echoes their first conversation together from the first film.

ChaseHand it over, Ben.

GatesI need to see the Booth diary page.

ChaseYou saw the page yourself. There is no treasure map on it.

GatesNo, it’s a cipher leading to a map. Anyone spectral-image the page?

ChaseNo need to. The ink writing on the page is clearly visible.

GatesIt could have been erased or faded. You’re the director of document conservation. You know all this.

ChaseIt’s not up to me. It’s not my department.

Gates: That department reports to your department. Come on. One look under infrared.

I do enjoy this bit of conversation, even if only to get a clue about her new job and title!

The white glove returns!

The next scene takes place in what I assume is a lab in the Library of Congress, where Chase is using a computer and infrared scan. The iconic white gloves, an essential tool in the archivist’s toolbox, do make an appearance, but it’s interesting to note that Chase only has a white glove on her left hand, and not her right hand while she’s using the computer.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Modern archival equipment!

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

White gloves in hand for the reel archivist

This short scene is also notable for its use of modern archivist technology this time — no lemon juice or hairdryers this time! 😉

They do find a cipher on the back of the page — DA DA DUMMMMMMM! —  and she sends the document to the scanner.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Cipher discovered!

Chase takes off the glove on her left hand and pull outs a copy of the document from the scanner. You can see her white gloves in the background of the closeup.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

A reel archivist’s tools: white gloves, tape, and infrared scanners

Here’s how this scene and its importance to Chase’s identity as a reel archivist is described in the “Crossing a Librarian with a Historian: The Image of Reel Archivists” article by Aldred, Burr, and Park:

“In the sequel National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007), we once again encounter Abigail Chase; she performs one “archival” function: she uses a computer to manipulate a digital image of a page torn from John Wilkes Booth’s diary, all the while either wearing or holding a white glove. This humorous image aside, we learn that she is now working for the Library of Congress and is Director of Document Conservation.” (p. 85)

The book of secrets:

The “book of secrets” is solved midway through the film. Remember Riley’s treasure-hunting book that nobody wanted to read? Turns out, he wrote a chapter about “The President’s Secret Book” and a secret seal. (The trio had discovered this seal on an adventure in London, for reasons of PLOT.)

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

The chapter on the secret book in Riley’s book

It was definitely a moment for “suspension of disbelief” and massive eye-rolling, because the “President’s Secret Book” and secret seal feels like something both Chase and Gates would already know about, right? But at least Riley gets his moment in the spotlight.

Library of Congress connection:

So all of this secret book nonsense leads Gates to, naturally, have to kidnap POTUS in order to confront him about the book and how to find it. As you do. This leads them to the Library of Congress.

PresidentThe book exists.

GatesWhere is it?

PresidentWhere else do you keep a book? In the Library of Congress.

POTUS then gives Gates a code:  XY 234786.

I immediately shouted out at the screen, “It’s a call number!!!!” And of course, it had to be a Library of Congress call number, which start with a combination of letters, followed by numbers. (Dewey Decimal call numbers start with numbers, 000s through 900s.)

And now we know why Dr. Abigail Chase had to switch jobs from the National Archives to the Library of Congress. I had mused it was for reasons of PLOT. And here’s where that plot point pays off…

Library of Congress archivist leading the way:

At 1 hour and 11 mins into the film, Chase leads the way to the Library of Congress. Doesn’t she look totally bad-ass in her black leather jacket? #ArchivistRoleModel

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Library of Congress entry

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Reel archivist in charge and coming through!

RileyWhere do we start?

ChaseXY is the book classification code. Stands for special collections, which means very special books.

Of course the reel librarian/archivist would figure out straight away that it’s a call number!

Note:  The Library of Congress classification system generally follows the alphabet for the first part of its call number combinations, as you can see here, meaning there are potentially 26 major categories of call numbers. However, 5 of the 26 English language letters are not currently used for call number categories, being kept in “reserve” for future use. “X” is one of those letters not currently used for Library of Congress call numbers. (I, O, W, and Y are the other letters not in use.) So it could be possible, theoretically, that the Library of Congress could use the “X” category for secret collections not known to the public.

I loved how, in this screenshot below, you can spot two librarians on duty in the iconic round reference desk in the middle of the Library of Congress Reading Room. This film has both reel archivists AND reel librarians! 😀

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Two reel librarians on duty at the Library of Congress Reading Room reference desk

We also get a shot of another reel librarian, or rather library assistant, opening up a back door and rolling out a library cart.

None of the reel librarians in this scene, however, recognize Chase.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Reel librarian alert, with an iconic prop, the book cart.

Chase leads to the way to the alcove, which is labeled “Deck 7, Q-Z.”

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Library alcove set in the Library of Congress

But the book is not on the shelf, where the call number indicates it would be.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Call number closeup

RileyMaybe someone checked it out.

ChaseWhy would he send us here if there’s no book?

RileyHe probably wanted us to get caught.

Library ladder alert! I will need to add this film to the library ladders round-up post:

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Library ladder alert!

Gates figures out the secret book’s secret hiding place, by use of additional clues POTUS gave him.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

The book of secrets discovered!

Trivia from reveals that:

The area of the Library of Congress, in which Gates finds the Book of Secrets, does not exist as an area of book shelves. These book shelves were constructed as a prop library in a previously empty balcony of the Library’s Main Reading Room, and dismantled after the scenes were shot.

And the director confirms this on the commentary track:

We also had to build this room, in the Library of Congress, true to the style of the Library of Congress. The last thing you want to do is destroy the Library of Congress. If a light falls off her, we’re gonna break a library. So the goal here was just to get this room to look like the Library of Congress.

Although the trio are being hunted down by FBI agents — because of that whole “kidnapping the President” thing — there is still time for humor.

Random FBI AgentSo Gates abducts the president, lets him go, and then heads to the Library of Congress? Why?

FBI Agent SaduskyMaybe he wants to check out a book.

Escape from the Library of Congress:

The trio then try to elude the FBI agents on their tail. Chase leads Riley to the reference desk, where they escape down the secret stairs that lead to the basement of the Library of Congress. And OF COURSE the librarians on duty don’t notice this. Suspension of disbelief, y’all.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Escape through the Reading Room reference desk

The two run past a circular piece of machinery, which you can see in the screenshot below, which the director revealed on the commentary track that he was fascinated by and had to include in the final film:

These are extraordinary places underneath the Library [of Congess]. Go in that door, you down stairs, there’s a whole transport system of books. I mean, look at that. That’s how books get sent around the library on these little elevators that go up and down. All right, I don’t know what that has to do with the library, but we’re shooting it.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Running through the Library of Congress basement

I also loved how when the FBI agents came down the central staircase, a librarian immediately points the way to help them catch the adventurers.

Screenshot from 'National Treasure 2' (2007)

Librarian helper

Don’t mess with librarians! 😉

Reel archivist and librarian roles:

Once again, Diane Kruger’s portrayal of reel archivist Dr. Abigail Chase in this Class I film lands in the Atypical Portrayal category. She is a major character, and we see her both in and out of library and archival space, interacting with modern archival equipment. She is smart, funny, and not afraid to show her flexibility and resourcefulness when needed. She is a reel archivist role model!

The other reel archivist, the White House curator Connor (played by Ty Burrell), serves as both an Information Provider and Comic Relief. And the four other reel librarian cameos glimpsed in the Library of Congress scene all serve as Information Providers.

My personal connection to this movie:

Fun fact! During an American Library Association national conference in Washington D.C. a few years ago and a special tour the Library of Congress provided for librarians only, I actually got to go down those exact stairs and explore the basement of the Library of Congress! It’s amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! The Library of Congress collection is actually spread out over several buildings, and they are all interconnected by the system of pulleys and conveyer belts you see in the film.

The tour guide was also a librarian who had been at the Library of Congress one of the days they filmed this scene for the film. Cool, huh? 😀


Have you seen National Treasure or its sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets? Did you enjoy them and/or the major archivist role in these films? Please leave a comment and share!

Sources used: