BONUS! Has it been a month, or are you just happy to see me?

Sharing stats one month into launching Reel Librarians

Happy one-month blog-iversary! I launched this blog one month ago, Sept. 19, 2011, and I thought I’d share some stats and numbers with you. Let’s roll some numbers:

  • 165 tags
  • 52 categories
  • 31 days
  • 30 comments total
  • 20 visits daily average
  • 18 posts (not including this one)
  • 6 email subscribers
  • 3 posts a week:  MWF schedule
  • 1 month

Most popular pages:  Home page, About, Where do I begin? A love story (first post), Master List, Resources

‘City of’ librarians

Bonus points for the angels in this film, as many like to hang out in the public library

City of librarians… not really! We only get to see one librarian in City of Angels (1998), a dramatic weepy starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Basically, an angel (Cage) becomes romantically involved with a doctor (Ryan). My memories of the film immediately bring to mind the following:  1. Cage and Ryan having almost no romantic chemistry, kind of a necessity in this kind of film, and 2. Meg Ryan having an overly fussy hairdo. Not a great movie, but I remember the soundtrack being really popular.

Although the film is set in Los Angeles, the library showcased in the film is the quite picturesque San Francisco Public Library. (And fun side note: I’ve actually been inside the main branch, which is quite breathtaking in real life, too.)

Below is a trailer for the film, which does include footage of the library scene!

City of Angels – Trailer” video uploaded by YouTube Movies is licensed under a Standard YouTube license

Bonus points for the angels in this film, as many like to hang out in the public library (see above in the trailer). There are several short scenes set in the library, including one in which Ryan asks a young male circulation clerk about a particular book. She asks if he can tell her who it belongs to. The clerk can’t tell her who, but can tell her when. The clerk is bald-headed, clean-shaven, and wears thick glasses. In a rare display of library technology (although he says, “Give me five minutes“), the clerk scans the book’s barcode and looks it up in the computer system. He is your basic Information Provider, following the rules, no more, no less.

Sources used:

  • City of Angels. Dir. Brad Silberling. Perf. Meg Ryan, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Franz. Warner Bros., 1998.

Movie, movie

I have lots of films to watch, so how do I go about that?

So out of the roughly 650 titles currently on my Master List of librarian movies — not counting the lists of foreign films, TV shows, or documentaries — I’ve personally watched almost 200 of them. Some films I have seen many, many times (It’s a Wonderful Life, Desk Set, Party Girl being among my personal faves), while others I have watched so that YOU don’t have to (Neverending Story III — just say no!)

I have many more films to watch, so how do I go about that? First off, I own a large collection of librarian movies. I keep adding to it when I can; as of now, my personal collection of librarian movies stands at around 70 titles. I’ve added a shot of some of them all stacked up, so you can get a peek. You might notice several of these personal titles are still plastic-wrapped; those are the ones I haven’t gotten around to watching (yet). Another great reason for this blog! And yes, I have several titles taped off TV, so no judging.

A glimpse into my world of reel librarians
A glimpse into my world of reel librarians

I also use my local public library to check out movies — hurray for libraries! Seriously, they’re better than Netflix or Blockbuster, so sign up and start checking out their collection of (free-for-you) movies. I’ve already got a list of over 50 more dvds I have begun requesting steadily from my public library, and I get to pick them up at my local branch just a few blocks away.

Plus, I’ve got a list of 60 more titles that are available from my cable on-demand service and Hulu (a subscription to HuluPlus only comes to about $8 a month, totally worth it). And throughout the year, I pick up a few more movies by going through the TCM and AMC TV schedules – this can be a gold mine for older movies that aren’t otherwise available. So I’ve got plenty more posts and reel librarian analysis down the pipe!

Dishonorable Mention

A few extras rounding out my bottom picks for reel librarian portrayals

Denver Librarian in Ask the Dust (2006):

In this Class III film set in Depression-era L.A., struggling writer Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), an Italian-American immigrant, meets and falls in love with Mexican immigrant Camilla (Salma Hayek). There is a brief flashback scene set in a public library, in which a young librarian first flirts with Bandini and then rejects him based on the name on his library card. In addition to helping set the library scene, her role reflects the discrimination toward Italian immigrants at that time.

Related posts: Reader poll write-up, Spring 2018: ‘Ask the Dust’

Jude in Bookies (2003):

In this Class I film, a student library employee uses the university library as the drop-off spot in a bookmaking scheme. This shining example of a library worker smokes, drinks, curses, plays video games, and has an addiction problem with gambling and drugs (in one scene, he does drugs on the library copier!). He is called an “asshole” by everyone, including his co-workers!

Related posts: Notable additional occupations for reel librarians ; Is reading a spectator sport? Librarians in sports movies

Librarian in The Caveman’s Valentine (2001):

This Class III film features another Spinster Librarian, this time one who is outraged by a homeless man sleeping in the library.

Related posts: The Spinster Librarian

Lindgren in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011):

In this Class III film and American version of the Swedish novel, a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) investigates the 40-year disappearance of a young woman. He is aided in his search by a punk investigator/computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Late in the film, Lisbeth researches records in a company’s archives, disgruntling a steely, stern-faced archives librarian named Lindgren (Anne-Li Norberg). Lindgren is most unwilling to help Lisbeth, even ignoring her gestures for help and calling her supervisor to complain about Lisbeth’s attitude.

Related posts: If looks could kill in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ ; The Lindgren trilogy | Comparing the archivist character in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ book and film versions

White Librarian in Hidden Figures (2016):

This Oscar-nominated Class IV film spotlights the personal and professional struggles and contributions of three African-American female mathematicians — or “computers” — at NASA during the early 1960s. There is a brief, but pivotal, library scene in which mathematician and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer, in an Oscar-nominated role) enters the “whites” section of the library because the “colored” section doesn’t have what she needs; a white librarian (listed in the credits as “White Librarian”) refuses her service, causing Vaughan to spirit the book out of the library.

Related posts: First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene

School librarian in High School High (1992):

In this Class IV film, a school librarian shows up briefly twice to yell out, “You suck!” to a naïve, well-meaning teacher.

Related posts: Reel school librarians ; Reel librarians on the loose

Miss McKenzie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969):

This Class III film features another Spinster Librarian, one who shoos noisy children out of the school library and declares, “This is a library, not a fun fair!” The drab clothing and unflattering hairstyle of side buns do not help.

Related posts: The shushing librarian: Celebration or scorn? ; Revisiting favorites | ‘The shushing librarian,’ Feb. 5, 2013 ; Reel school librarians ; The Quotable Librarian 1

Miss Gottschalk in The Seventh Victim (1943):

In this Class III film — the first horror film to feature a librarian — a teenage girl (Kim Hunter) tries to find her missing sister Jacqueline and uncovers a sinister cult. Poet Jason Hoag (Erford Gage) goes to the library to gather clues from cult members’ circulation records; he flirts with the librarian, who breaks the rules to give him restricted books. The horror of an unethical librarian!

Related posts: The horror of an unethical librarian in ‘The Seventh Victim’ ; Breakin’ the rules ; Victims or villains? Librarians in horror films and thrillers

Marcia Pilborough in Wetherby (1969):

In this Class II film, a misguided scholar visits the British Library Lending Division (where he is informed by a rude, wholly disinterested librarian that they do NOT lend books) and then shoots himself in a stranger’s house later that night. Coincidence? Perhaps, but definitely not the most positive reel librarian portrayal.

Related posts: What’s in a name?

Honorable Mention

A few extras rounding out my top picks for reel librarian portrayals

Miss Franny in Because of Winn-Dixie (2005):

At first glance, Miss Franny seems to be a spinster librarian in this Class II film, but we soon see her as a warm, friendly kindred spirit to the film’s heroine.

Microfilm Clerk in The Changeling (1980):

In this Class III film, John Russell (George C. Scott) — whose wife and daughter are killed in a freak road accident — rents a house with a mysterious (and murderous) past. John researches old newspapers at the library, and a clerk sets up microfilm in a viewing room. In fact, the young clerk is able to take the microfilm box out of the drawer, roll the microfilm out of its box, thread it through the microfilm reader in the next room, AND spin it through to the requested article — all in 4 seconds (!!!!). WOW. He personifies the concept of “efficiency” for all librarians ever after. 😉

Related posts: The fastest librarian in the West, as seen in ‘The Changeling’

The librarian in Curse of the Demon, aka Night of the Demon (1957):

Psychologist John Holden (Dane Andrews) investigates a colleague’s death and becomes the next target of a satanic cult in this Class III film. In one segment, Holden investigates his colleague’s research at the British Museum and gets help from a librarian. The librarian is polite, very knowledgeable, conscientious, and efficient — a very positive onscreen depiction of a reference librarian!

Related posts: Positive portrayal of a reel librarian in ‘Curse of the Demon’

Kala in The Golden Child (1986):

In this Class III film, private detective Chandler Jarrell (Eddie Murphy) sets out to find the “Golden Child,” a Buddhist mystic who has been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer (Charles Dance). A mysterious dragon lady librarian, Kala, supplies him with information about the Golden Child and his quest, and he is told that she is the librarian at a Sacred Depository library, a half-dragon lady over 300 years old (!). Kala is seen onscreen for less than 5 minutes total, yet her presence is quite memorable. Right on cue throughout the film, Kala provides the vital plot points to propel the plot forward.

Related posts: The dragon lady librarian in ‘The Golden Child’ (1986)

The librarian in The Human Comedy (1943):

In this Class III film, there is a brief, but heartwarming, scene in which the elderly librarian shares her love of books to two young boys.

Related posts: Reel librarians on library ladders ; Battle of the sexes ; Updating the list of Best Picture nominees featuring librarians

The librarian in Lorenzo’s Oil (1992):

This Class II film features one of the best reference interviews on film—an academic librarian calms an irritable patron without patronizing him.

Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (1962):

This Class I film is not one of my personal favorites (sorry, Robert Preston fans), but it is a good film notable for its influence in cementing librarians in popular culture. Also, a reel librarian gets her own song!

Related posts: Marian or Marion? ; Revisiting favorites | ‘Marian or Marion?,’ May 28, 2012 ; Marian and Ms. Jones ; Best librarian films by decade, Part II: 1960s-2000s ; Musical numbers for the library-minded ; A love song for a librarian ; Reel librarian love for Valentine’s Day: Movies for different romantic moods ; Updating the list of Best Picture nominees featuring librarians

The Records Keeper in RED (2010):

In this comedy-action, Class III film, retired but extremely dangerous (“RED”) agents team up against people trying to kill them. In one of his final roles, Ernest Borgnine pays Henry, the CIA records keeper. “They don’t make them like that anymore.

Related posts: The ultimate Information Provider in ‘RED’

The school librarian in The Substitute (1996):

A school librarian stands up to hoodlums in this Class III film—and backs it up by packing a pistol! Probably not the most family-friendly reel librarian (she’s got a potty mouth, as well) but one of the most memorable!

Related posts: Reel school librarians ; It all started with a big list