Revisiting my round-up of reel librarian love

As Valentine’s Day approaches next week, I am revisiting and updating a post I put together a couple of Valentine’s Days ago: a round-up of romance-themed posts from my blog archives. Enjoy the love! ♥


Reel librarians in love

round-up of films featuring reel librarians in love, including the appropriately named Love Story (1970).


A love song for a librarian

This post explores a few love songs inspired by librarians, including “Heaven Sent” by INXS (1992).


Romance and the reel librarian

A post lookin’ for love — or rather, romance films featuring reel librarians.


Casanova, the lover and the librarian

In this post about “the world’s greatest lover,” I explore the 2005 film Casanova, starring the late Heath Ledger as the title character. I also delve into how the real-life Casanova spent the last dozen or so years of his life as a private librarian (!).


Love story analysis posts

I’ve also analyzed in-depth several love stories featuring reel librarians, in parts both major and minor, including:

 

Reel librarians in political-themed films

As politics is a subject we’ve probably all been talking about in our daily lives — and/or reading about in our social media feeds — especially this week, I thought it would be good timing to round up reel librarian portrayals in films set in the world of politics and/or have political themes.


All the President’s Men (1976)

This film follows the Watergate scandal uncovered by reporters Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford). After several attempts by the reporters to locate information, a library clerk helps by giving them circulation records.

There are actually four minor reel librarian roles in this film, one of which we only hear over the phone, plus the reporters visit the Library of Congress.

It feels like a good time to revisit this film soon…


Before Night Falls (2000)

This film highlights the life of Cuban writer and poet Reinaldo Arenas (Javier Bardem, in an Oscar-nominated role), who struggles against the Cuban revolution and government censorship of his writings. As a young man, he enters and wins a contest for young writers sponsored by the National Library, the prize being a job at the Library.

It feels like a good time to revisit this film soon…


Borstal Boy (2000)

Based upon the autobiography of (in)famous Irish writer and activist Brendan Behan, this film focuses on his time in a borstal — a kind of youth prison/labor camp in the UK — during World War II. A prison librarian shows up periodically throughout the film, and introduces him to the works of Oscar Wilde, a “fellow Irishman, a fellow jailbird, and rebel.”

A lasting impression of the Borstal librarian

A lasting impression of the Borstal librarian


Cal (1984)

A young man (John Lynch) struggles to find himself in war-torn Northern Ireland during “The Troubles,” and he falls in love with the widow (Helen Mirren) of a man killed by the IRA. Lynch first notices Mirren at the public library, where she works, and he visits the library a few more times during the course of the film.


The Handmaid’s Tale (1990)

This dystopian tale is set in a world under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship, in which fertility has become rare, and fertile young women, trained as Handmaids, are treated as slaves in the households they are assigned to. The late Natasha Richardson plays a Handmaid named Offred, and we learn in one scene that she used to be a librarian.

It’s also a good time to revisit and analyze this film, as a TV series version will be coming out later this year, in April. The new series stars Elisabeth Moss as Offred.


Idiocracy (2006)

I still have not yet seen this film, but it’s definitely on my list to see this year! Here’s how the film’s plot is described on IMDb.com:

Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.


Primary Colors (1998)

This film is a fictionalized account of Bill Clinton’s first presidential candidacy. The film begins with Jack Stanton (John Travolta) visiting an urban school that provides adult literacy classes, and he introduces the “very special librarian,” Miss Walsh (Allison Janney), a klutzy but dedicated teacher and librarian. She is featured in the film clip below.


Soylent Green (1973)

Although ostensibly a mystery thriller, the undercurrent of this dystopian film is socially and environmentally political. In the year 2022, food is scarce and the world’s population relies on a food product called “soylent green.” A detective (Charlton Heston) investigates a murder of a Soylent official and his “Police Book,” Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his final film role), visits a former public library, now known as the “Supreme Exchange—Authorized Books Only.”

The librarians in this dystopian, disturbing future are known as “Books.”

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Soylent Green' (1973)

Screenshot from ‘Soylent Green’ (1973)


Storm Center (1956)

Any film that focuses on censorship is bound to be political.

Storm Center is a melodramatic film with the rare theme of library censorship at its center. Alicia Hull (Bette Davis), the director of the public library, is well-liked and respected in the town, by both children and adults alike. Alicia is asked to remove a book about communism, but she ultimately refuses (“I couldn’t take out a book whose ideas we don’t like”) and is fired—setting off an explosive chain of events.


WarGames (1983)

David, a computer whiz (Matthew Broderick), hacks into a computer game system, accidentally starting World War III and riling up international relations between the United States and Russia. (Sound familiar?!) Is it a simulation, or a real-life crisis?

A pivotal library research scene reveals how David discovers the secret password into the computer system. A reel librarian is seen very briefly in this montage scene.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'WarGames' (1983)

Screenshot from ‘WarGames’ (1983)


Do you have any political-themed films to add to the list? Please leave a comment and share!

Browsing the Paramount Vault YouTube channel

At the end of 2015, my husband alerted me, via Facebook, to the Paramount Vault YouTube channel:

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of Paramount Vault Facebook feed

The official description states that the project “showcases a collection of Paramount full-length films and clips including selections that range from black-and-white to color, comedy to horror, and everything in between. Viewers are invited to explore the vast landscape of cinema’s history, share their favorite films, and discover new ones through this official channel created by Paramount Pictures.”

That’s right, Paramount is uploading select full-length films and short clips to “The Paramount Vault” YouTube channel, here at http://youtube.com/c/paramountvault. At the start of 2016, there were 175 films available for viewing. (One caveat: it appears you can only watch them in the United States.)

Paramount Vault YouTube header

Paramount Vault YouTube header

So OF COURSE I set about browsing through the list for any reel librarian titles, and I have discovered at least two titles that I can now watch online, including:

A Girl Named Tamiko (1962):

Movie poster for 'A Girl Named Tamiko'

Movie poster for ‘A Girl Named Tamiko,’ The Paramount Vault

I am VERY excited about finally being able to see this film. I had written about A Girl Named Tamiko back in Sept. 2012, in my “Have you seen this movie?” post, highlighting films I hadn’t yet been able to track down copies of.

The title character of Tamiko (played by France Nuyen), who is from a wealthy Japanese family, works as a librarian for the Foreign Press Club in Tokyo. Apparently, her occupation is not that important to the film, but there are a couple of scenes set in the Foreign Press Club library.

It’s based on a book of the same name by Ronald Kirkbride. A used copy of the book is available from Amazon.com, but the DVD was out-of-print.

Ironweed (1987):

Movie poster for Ironweed

Movie poster for ‘Ironweed,’ The Paramount Vault

In 1938, a homeless drifter (Jack Nicholson) returns to his home town and meets a ex-radio singer (Meryl Streep) who is sick and homeless. Both Nicholson and Streep were nominated, for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively, for Ironweed. It is based on a novel by William Kennedy, who also wrote the screenplay.

In one scene, Streep tries to sleep in the library and then gets into an argument with a woman who recognizes her. The librarian, played by Bethel Leslie, shushes her and then ejects her from the library.

I saw this film years ago, and I did take notes about the short library scene at the time. However, I haven’t revisited the film yet for this blog — but that will be forthcoming! 😀


There are many more feature-length films available on The Paramount Vault YouTube channel besides reel librarian films, and I hope Paramount keeps adding new films to the channel. Is The Paramount Vault on your list to check out? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Best of 2015

For this year’s “best of” post, I went back to what I did in 2013 and chose my personal favorite from each month to compile a month-by-month “best of” retrospective.

So here goes, my personal favorites for 2015:


January 2015:   Rating ‘The Librarians’

In this post, I recapped the first season of ‘The Librarians’ TV series, concluding the post by rating the 10 episodes in order of my personal favorites. Rereading this post makes me want to rewatch the first season!

Reel Librarians | First impressions: The Librarians


February 2015:  Boston Blackie and the shushing librarian

In this film analysis post, I count down the ways how Miss Burton, the reel librarian in Boston Blackie and the Law (1946), checks off all the boxes for what a stereotypical spinster librarian looks like. It’s almost like a Halloween costume checklist!

Reel Librarians | Boston Blackie and the shushing librarian


March 2015:  Finding a reel librarian

Another film analysis post, this time about the reel librarians in Finding Forrester (2000), a film directed by Gus Van Sant — who also made a cameo as the library assistant in the main library scene. This might just be the only time a film director has also played a reel librarian!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Finding Forrester'


April 2015:  Guest post: Century Film Project

My favorite post for April was a guest post from Michael, a fellow librarian and film blogger, at the Century Film Project blog.

Century Film Project header


May 2015:  When a librarian reads ‘Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians’…

So what happens when a real librarian reads the book Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians?

Reel Librarians | Book cover of 'The Complete Alcatraz'


June 2015:  Reel Substance: A look at Classes I and II

In June, I kicked off a series of posts to spotlight the “Reel Substance” portion of my Reel Librarians site, starting with this closer look at major reel librarian characters in Classes I and II.

Reel Librarians | Reel Substance screenshot


July 2015:  The bigfoot librarian

I enjoyed everything about rewatching the cult classic ’80s film Harry and the Hendersons (1987) and putting this analysis post together.

Reel Librarians | Comparing the reel librarian and Bigfoot from 'Harry and the Hendersons' (1987)


August 2015:  You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian

I did NOT enjoy watching this film, but writing up this analysis post of You, Me, and Dupree (2006) was lots of fun. Why? Four words:  Mandy the Mormon librarian.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)


September 2015:  Heard but not seen

In this post, the starting inspiration was the “Seen but not heard” phrase — and thinking about the opposite of that saying in relation to reel librarians — those librarians heard (or heard about) but not seen onscreen.

Seen but not heard illustration


October 2015:  Amityville horrors

Each October, I analyze scary movies that feature reel librarians — and believe me, there are a lot of them! For this analysis post, I compared-and-contrasted the first two movies in the Amityville series. Both movies feature reel librarians!

Reel Librarians | Library research in 'The Amityville Horror' (1979)


November 2015:  Quest for the ‘Liberated Librarian’

After the premiere of the second season of ‘The Librarians‘ TV series, I went back to the original TV movie, 2004’s The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. For this analysis post, I focused on three early scenes that set up Flynn’s Liberated Librarian character type and plot arc — and which also contain some of the most memorable dialogue about lifelong learning and libraries!

Reel Librarians | The perpetual student


December 2015:  Reel librarian conquests

This was a super-sized post, in which I analyzed the three film-length episodes of The Norman Conquests, a 1977 British TV mini-series, with a reel librarian as the title character. Norman provides a memorable self-description:  “Gigolo and assistant librarian.” ‘Nuff said.

Reel Librarians | Norman sulking with his suitcase in 'The Norman Conquests' (1977)


Any personal favorites of yours this past year? Please let me know and leave a comment.

Happy New Year! 🙂

Holiday round-up with reel librarians

Time for revisiting our holiday round-up with your reel librarians! I’ve added even more titles and info to the Christmas-themed reel librarians lists I began in 2011 and updated in 2013.

Reel Librarians | Holiday logo


Christmas on Division Street (TV, 1991)

Emmy-nominated TV movie that includes a “Librarian” and “Library Guard” in its credits. IMDb.com reviews mention a library scene, although I still haven’t seen this TV movie.


Desk Set (1957)

A classic librarian film that takes place around the holidays and includes a funny — and boozy — office Christmas party in the research department library.

A Very Drunk Katharine Hepburn” clip from Desk Set, uploaded by I am an angel…….an angel of love on Jan. 31, 2010. Standard YouTube license.


Home by Christmas (TV, 2006)

A librarian is included in the credits of this Christmas-themed TV movie. I watched this movie last December, after my mom sent me a copy of the DVD. After a woman (Linda Hamilton) gets divorced from her cheating husband, she ends up homeless. A friend urges her to go to the library for books to study for the real estate license exam. There are a few shots in a public library and a few glimpses of an older reel librarian, complete with cardigan and half-moon glasses on a chain.

Reel Librarians | DVD of 'Home by Christmas'

DVD of ‘Home by Christmas’


It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Top 5 on my list of Christmas movie favorites — as well as my “Hall of Shame” list for reel librarian portrayals! It’s a wonderful film, indeed, one that also includes the most notorious “Spinster Librarian” scene of ’em all. 😉


The Last American Virgin (1982)

Not a Christmas movie, but it does include a brief scene set in the school library around the holidays. The school librarian is at the front counter, where there is a small — and sparsely decorated — Christmas tree, as seen below in this screenshot.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'The Last American Virgin'

Screenshot from ‘The Last American Virgin’


Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954)

The seventh entry in the “Ma and Pa Kettle” film series, one that includes character actress Mary Wickes as a “maiden lady librarian” who finds love under the mistletoe during a holiday party at the end of the film.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Ma and Pa Kettle at Home'

Screenshot from ‘Ma and Pa Kettle at Home’


My Side of the Mountain (1969)

I had totally forgotten this movie had a Christmas scene in it, until I read the write-up on the Movie Librarians website.

She [Miss Turner, the reel librarian in the film] is warm and caring, and the two become friends. Later they spend Christmas together.

The character of Miss Turner also made my “Hall of Fame” list:

[I]t does contain one of the most caring and thoughtful of all reel librarians. A public librarian helps a young boy find information about peregrine falcons and goes out of her way to find him more resources.

You can read more details about the film — and a screenshot of the Christmas scene! — on the Review Geek website.


Noëlle (2007)

A new addition to the list! I discovered this holiday-themed title from both the Movie Librarians website and the “Libraries on Film” Pinterest site. Here’s the write-up and pin from the latter:

This examination of the librarian stereotype focuses on Kerry Wall as small-town librarian Marjorie Worthington, whose scruffy librarian looks disqualify her for the role of Mary in a living nativity scene, according to the local priest (David Wall as Father Jonathan Keene) and her boyfriend (Curt Dewitz as Seth). She reads Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to children in the library.

Screenshot of Noelle pin from 'Libraries on Film' Pinterest board

Screenshot of Noelle pin from ‘Libraries on Film’ Pinterest board


True Colors (1991)

Another new addition to this holiday-themed list! I got this title from the Librarians in the Movies: An Annotated Filmography website. Here is the write-up for True Colors on that site:

An ambitious law student must spend Christmas at school so he uses the library to read magazines. Set in the University of Virginia Science and Engineering Library (formerly the law school library).


The Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013, TV movie)

This Lifetime TV movie is not only Christmas-themed but also boasts a reel librarian as the main character! Plus, it stars Lindy Booth, who also plays a librarian on “The Librarians” TV series! I haven’t seen this TV movie yet, but I have it set to record soon on my DVR. Here’s the write-up on the TV guide:

A children’s librarian tries to save her beloved Manhattan library from being demolished to make way for a developer to build high-rise loft apartments. To generate media attention, she holds a Christmas tree decorating contest.


With Honors (1994)

Rounding out the list is a college-themed film that includes a few scenes in the college library, including one set during the Christmas holidays. In one brief scene, captured below in a screenshot, one can glimpse in the background a few college librarians exchanging gifts and holiday cheer.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'With Honors'

Screenshot from ‘With Honors’


Happy holidays! Is there another Christmas-themed film I need to add to this ongoing list? Please leave a comment and let me know!