Netflix and Blockbuster are not the only game in town when it comes to renting movies online. In fact, if you are in the market for classic movies, you just may want to check out ClassicFlix.com. ClassicFlix.com is an online deliverer of DVDs through the mail, offering you the chance both to rent and buy. Like Netflix, ClassicFlix offers various packages based on how many movies you want at a time. If you go for just the one movie at a time the price is $9.99. Six movies out at once would cost you $36.99. The shipping is free and it works basically just like Netflix. So, then, why would anyone want to bother with ClassicFlix when there’s Netflix?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the name. CLASSICflix is what this site is all about. This is a site that caters to the lover of both classic films and classic television shows. According to ClassicFlix’s FAQ they specialize only in films and TV shows made prior to 1969. The idea is that while a place like Netflix does have a Classics section, all too often movies that quite recent slip into it. Either that, or the classic collection is not as extensive one would hope. As a bona fide lover of classic movies, it pains me to no end to see something like Back to the Future piled in amidst The Thin Man or A Place in the Sun. Give BTTF another twenty years and it still won’t qualify as a classic in my book. But I digress.
Of course, old doesn’t necessarily mean classic either, and while it might be stretching things a bit to include movies like Bedtime for Bonzo or The Angry Red Planet alongside such unquestionable classics as Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein or 2001: A Space Odyssey under the umbrella “classic film” I’m still much more okay with that than trying to convince me that Dirty Dancing is or will ever become a classic movie.
One really cool way to get into ClassicFlix is to engage their specialty browsing method. Anyone who loves classic films or foreign films knows that the name Criterion is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to DVD releases. Criterion has made their name in packaging classic and cult films in DVD format chock full of great special features. If you conduct a search under the Criterion collection you will be presented not only with some of the greatest films in history, but with DVD issues that are among the best around. And any lover of the movies made during the Hollywood studio system knows that searching by studio can narrow down your interest substantially. If you love gritty crime dramas then you know to search through the collection of Warner Brothers. If you love classic monster movies, then you know to search through the Universal library. If you can’t get enough of low budget westerns, then you know to click on Republic Studios. You can tell that ClassicFlix.com is run by people who really know their classic movies and not some management school hotshot who only knows how to sell people what they don’t need.
ClassicFlix isn’t intended to make you give up your Netflix subscription. After all, if you want to find anything made after 1970 you are out of luck. And the truth is that there aren’t that many films available on ClassicFlix that you can’t also find at Netflix. (Although to mention just one, if you are looking for the earlier version of The Maltese Falcon also known as Satan Met a Lady you are out of luck at Netflix.) Still, for those of us who bemoan the typical lack of appreciation for one of this country’s greatest resources-those films made before Tom Cruise became a movie star-ClassicFlix.com just feels like a natural place to go. Even if the greater majority of films they carry are also carried by Netflix and that other competitor, there is something that just feels good about tossing one’s support to a company that recognizes that a William Powell/Myrna Loy romantic comedy provides far more pleasure than all the movies starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock combined will ever provide.