Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)

'A Cure for Pokeritis' (1912)Wanted today to point everyone to a new “Community Cards” column over on the Epic Poker blog, this one about a 1912 silent film titled A Cure for Pokeritis. Has to be just about the oldest poker movie ever made, I would guess.

The 12-minute movie was recently chosen by the National Film Registry for preservation. Each year a fellow named James H. Billington, a Librarian of Congress, selects 25 films from a list compiled by the National Film Preservation Board and the general public.

The idea is to pick movies that are of “enduring significance to American culture.” In other words, one might regard the list as kind of like a time capsule in which all sorts of examples of cinematic storytelling are being kept, all indicating various ideas or themes or values thought to be representative or important to the U.S.

The list started in 1989, so now there are 575 films total on the list. Most of the titles are familiar insofar as they are films that were very popular or critically acclaimed or both. But there are a number of fairly obscure ones there, including some non-commercial fare.

Here’s the full list, if you’re curious. Would probably be fun to go through and watch them all. You’ll see that along with A Cure for Pokeritis this year’s list included Bambi, The Big Heat, The Silence of the Lambs, Porgy and Bess, War of the Worlds (the original), Forrest Gump, and a one-minute film from 1972 called A Computer Animated Hand.

John Bunny in 'A Cure for Pokeritis'According to the little blurb about A Cure for Pokeritis that came along with the announcements of this latest round of choices, the film was picked primarily because it stars John Bunny, one of cinema’s first comic stars. That’s him on the right, having to borrow money from a friend for the fare home after losing all he had at the tables.

But in my “Community Cards” column I speculated a bit about how its inclusion also could be said to help preserve something of the significance of poker to the U.S.

The column includes two YouTube clips which deliver the entire film. So if you’re curious about this disease “pokeritis” and how it can be cured, go check it out.

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