Warner Bros. – owned by Time Warner, like EW – has made the decision to launch its own video streaming service (exciting!) coupled with the announcement that said service will stream movies and TV shows from its back-catalog — the old and the black-and-white. Unexciting? Not at all. The service, dubbed “Archive Instant” has 127 titles available so far and is offering subscribers a 2-week free trial. That’s more than enough time to binge on the highlights, including Cat People (pictured), as well as the first 13 episodes of Adventures of Superman: Season 1.
Here are our picks.
Cat People: If the title of this 1942 horror-thriller sounds ridiculous, well it is — intentionally so, thanks to the low-dollar, high-value panache of producer Val Lewton, who wanted the film to take a shadowy approach to its overheated plot about women, immigrants, and ancient feminine curses. The result is ridiculous, and also entertaining and very mean to Serbia.
Bad Seed: I could wax all film student here and say that 1956’s Bad Seed was a sort of mid-century trendsetter when it came to awful children who double as awfully murderous human beings. Instead, I’ll just leave this clip here and back away quietly.
Blow-Up: The most famous title in Michelangelo Antonioni’s filmography, and not coincidentally his first film in English, Blow-Up is about a photographer who thinks he may have photographed a murder. Chaos, of the existential and ‘60s varieties, ensues. Bonus: Vanessa Redgrave in one of her earliest movie roles. Extra bonus: Mimes playing tennis! Watch Antonioni’s follow-up, Zabriskie Point, for an even weirder European view of English-language dysmorphia.
77 Sunset Strip: The archive’s TV selection is pretty thin, but years two through six of 77 Sunset Strip are available. It’s a detective show that zags between the inherent edge of its premise (secret agents turned mystery solvers) and the requirements of production. Plus it has a theme song that’s so finger-snapping I won’t bother to describe it further.