Running out of old time Hollywood films to watch? Why not check our these films on YouTube…
by Martin Hafer
Considering I am in my 50s, I am not nearly as tech-savvy as many of our readers. However, in case you don’t realize it, YouTube has thousands and thousands of feature-length movies posted on it and you can view them for free. Now I know a few of you are thinking….”I don’t wanna watch a movie on my tiny computer screen”. Well, you don’t have to do this. Most BluRay players and modern videogame systems will stream YouTube on your television. And, there are other options…such as the Amazon Fire player. So there is no reason not to explore the films on YouTube. A few things you should know…you won’t find recent films on YouTube for copyright reasons. And, searching through the YouTube offerings isn’t easy or organized in a coherent fashion. Because of this, I would like to talk to you in a few articles about some of the unusual and interesting stuff just waiting to be discovered on the site.
This second article in this small series about YouTube is about classic Hollywood. If you are an insane film junky like me, you might have noticed that although there are a lot of old films on Turner Classic Movies, they certainly don’t have everything and many great films never make it to this wonderful channel. Or, perhaps your local cable affiliate is evil and has decided not to carry TCM…I’ve talked to a few folks who’ve had this problem. So where can you find classic films? You could try subscribing to a pay service such as FilmStruck (for $6.99 and up a month), but it mostly gives you access to the same sorts of films you’d find on TCM (with a few exceptions). You might try Netflix but their selection is very small…too small. I think this makes some sense, as newer films are what most of their customers want and they are in business to make money. So why not check out YouTube? After all, it’s free.
You may not have realized it but there are thousands of old films on YouTube. Some have been placed there by the film studios themselves. A few months ago, Paramount announced a free Paramount classic channel on YouTube…the Paramount Vault. Also, Universal has apparently done the same thing but without the fanfare of the Paramount announcement. Tons of older Universal films (mostly from the 1930s) are posted online. Unfortunately, in both cases the libraries are limited and you won’t find many of the classics such as the Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein. But considering it’s free and the quality of these prints are exceptional, who’s to complain?
As far as other films go, you’ll find films from many other film makers…just not organized so well. Because of this, you might just want to go on YouTube and wander about. Try using the search terms ‘classic Hollywood’ or ‘full length films 1940s’ for a start. All I know is that I’ve found a lot of great old films I couldn’t have seen otherwise…such as 1950s film noir and old time comedies. Good luck and let me know how this works for you, as I am constantly trying to keep up with things.