FilmStruck Forum: Exploring FilmStruck
My First Log-in to the Streaming Movie Service
As part of our long-term partnership with FilmStruck (which includes lots of monthly giveaways throughout the year), we are launching a monthly CMH column called FilmStruck Forum in which I will be exploring the many movies available on the FilmStruck streaming service.
Now, as CMH fans know, I would never promote a product unless I felt it was a good one, so that said, I have no qualms in writing about FilmStruck because quite frankly it’s the perfect streaming platform for classic movie fans — a treasure trove of real classic films. More specifically, it’s the exclusive home of the Criterion Collection, Warner Archives and TCM Select, plus lots of rare TCM archival content and exclusive bonus material. Granted, it’s a paid subscription service, but well worth the price for classic movie fans, given the amount and selection of carefully curated classic content, and the lack of classic content available on other platforms.
In the spirit of full disclosure, my own subscription is courtesy of FilmStruck, however the value of the subscription was apparent to me from the first time I logged in… I knew from first glance that my access to the classics had been greatly improved (understatement), and that I’d be able to, not only watch the classics that I already know and love, but that I would also be able to freely explore the many classics that I’ve just never had the chance to see before. It was almost as if my own DVD collection had been doubled, no tripled, in the blink of an eye.
So, for my first FilmStruck Forum post, I’d like to share the three films I watched upon my first day’s journey into the platform…
LOCAL HERO, 1983
Oddly enough, although classics are my ‘true love’, the first movie I watched on FilmStruck was Local Hero (1983) – simply because about a month or two prior, I had a hankering to watch it, but couldn’t find it on Netflix and didn’t want to purchase it again on amazon (my VHS copy was long gone and I couldn’t find my DVD anywhere). So imagine my surprise when I logged into FilmStruck and saw it in a category called ‘Fish out of Water Comedies’…
Burt Lancaster, Fulton Mackay (BBC sitcom Porridge), Peter Capaldi, Peter Riegert (you may remember him from Animal House) and Christopher Rozycki (top to bottom, left to right)
If you’re not familiar with Local Hero, it stars Burt Lancaster as an eccentric Texas oil billionaire who sends company exec Peter Riegert (‘Mac’) to a small fishing village on the west coast of Scotland to purchase land rights to build an oil refinery there. This movie has long been a favorite of mine due to its charming and quirky characters and storyline, but more particularly because of the beautiful (understatement) scenery, the beautiful (again) soundtrack by Mark Knopfler - and the way in which it portrays the differences (and sometimes similarities) between fast-paced city life and quaint village life, the power of money (or not), and ultimately what’s really important in life. This film resonated so strongly with me that it compelled me to visit Scotland (which I did) and add the Aurora Borealis to my ‘must see’ list (been soooo close, but haven’t seen it yet).
“Could you imagine a world without oil? No automobiles, no heat. And polish. No ink. And nylon. No detergents. And Perspex. You wouldn’t get any Perspex. No polythene…”
PANDORA’S BOX, 1929
After Local Hero, I switched gears (quite a bit) and watched a classic that I’ve always wanted to see, but never had the chance - Pandora’s Box, the 1929 silent film starring Louise Brooks. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best film to watch directly after Local Hero, as it was very intense and abruptly changed my mood, for which I wasn’t entirely prepared… The story revolves around selfish seductress Lulu (Brooks) who brings devastation and ruin to herself and all those around her. Spoiler alert, there is no happy ending here, but that said, I’m glad I finally had the chance to see this film.
“Now I’ll marry Lulu! It’ll be the death of me!”
THE MISFITS, 1961
My third pick for the day was The Misfits. This was one of those films that I’ve always wanted to see, but just kept putting it off until ‘another time.’ But, since it was going to expire soon on FilmStruck, I grabbed my chance to see it. The film stars Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in their last feature film roles, as well as Montgomery Clift who would go on to make three more feature films (Judgment at Nuremberg, Freud and The Defector). The story revolves around a newly divorced woman (Monroe) who meets, and spends time with, an aging cowboy (Gable) and his friends – a widowed tow truck driver (Eli Wallach) and a rodeo cowboy (Clift). The ending scene which involves roping wild mustangs in the Nevada desert was quite heart-wrenching (for me anyway), and I was particularly struck by the stunt work, as well as Monroe’s acting here, making me again think that she was under-rated in many respects.
All told, I would say that my first foray into FilmStruck was an interesting and fun one… And I am looking forward to exploring it further. There are so many great movies available here, that it will be difficult for me to decide what to watch next. Do I watch one of my favorite Chaplin films, or perhaps a Beatles film? Or maybe Casablanca or Now Voyager or Bringing Up Baby – oh gosh, or what about Lili or Some Like It Hot or Stagecoach or Lawrence of Arabia? Or better yet a documentary on Billy Wilder, or something I’ve never seen before like Blithe Spirit or Reckless or Seven Samurai??? Decisions, decisions But what a delightful candy store for this kid to be in!
And just to remind everyone, we’re giving away LOTs of FilmStruck subscriptions this year, courtesy of FilmStruck. Our first contest is running now through July 28th. You can click here to enter:
And, if you don’t want to wait to win, you can enjoy an EXCLUSIVE 30-day Trial by clicking here.
Thanks for reading, and see you next month!
–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub