I recently came across this old Huffington Post piece entitled, “Librarians Save The Day! 11 Great Movies In Which They Star.”
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?” post, here in this “Marian and Ms. Jones” post, and included it in the updated “Best Picture nominees featuring librarians” post.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- comparing the original play and film version here in this “Comparing two desk sets (and I don’t mean furniture” post
- revisiting that original Desk Set post in this “Revisiting favorites” post
- highlighting Katharine Hepburn’s librarian style in this post
- highlighting the rest of the librarians’ style in Desk Set
- highlighting the Christmas party scene in the library in this “Holiday round-up with reel librarians” post
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!
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.
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.
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!