If you’re a classic film buff like me, old movies you saw years ago pop in your mind from time to time and you find yourself asking, “I wonder if that's available on home video?” It’s been my experience that unless it is a well-known title or it stars one of the greats from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the answer is usually “No.”
And while a vast number of films have yet to be made available on DVD, some great strides have been made in making them available in other ways, most notably the Archive Collection from Warner Brothers. This unique service offers up over 500 titles that are not available through a normal retail outlet but can be purchased from Warner Brothers directly. Place an order for say, the overlooked Paul Brickman feature Men Don’t Leave and the company will make a copy of it for you and send it directly to your home. It’s a simple idea and one that other studios would be wise to emulate.
However, the best source I have found for films of this sort is ClassicFlix, a website that offers a wide variety of classic movies for sale and rent. Though they have no streaming option, the site works just as NetFlix did when it first began. For a flat fee, depending on how many DVDs you’d like to receive and keep at a time, you can have movies delivered right to your home, with no delivery fee, and keep them as long as you want. When you return them, the next films in your queue are sent to you.
While it’s great that the service is so easy to use what’s really exciting is the vast number of films at a viewer’s disposal and the wide array of stars that are featured on the site. Type in “Gary Cooper” and 83 separate titles pop up, including an Abbott and Costello television show in which he was a guest star. Want to become an expert on silent cinema? There are 566 titles to choose from, while there are over 126 different old-time serials to choose from.
Every genre you can think of is covered at ClassicFlix, which also features a section that keeps track of upcoming home video releases of classic films. If you’re a fan of this sort of movie, I really can’t recommend this site more highly, but be forewarned – once you visit, you’ll find yourself amassing a list of films on your queue that just may take many months to get through.
ClassicFlix can be found, surprisingly enough, at www.classicflix.com.