If you’re hungry for classic films, it’s somewhat disappointing that most of the major streaming services are somewhat lacking when it comes to a diverse catalogue of the classics, but the British Film Institute are looking to scratch that itch. The BFI Player Classics streaming service will be launching in the U.S. on May 14th with an expertly hand-picked collection of some of the best British movies of all time, such as Carol Reed’s The Third Man, Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, and so much more.
Consisting of hundreds of films spanning from 1927 to 2017, BFI Player Classic is aiming to have something for everyone and hopes to introduce audiences to a few lesser known classics at the same time. While speaking with IndieWire, BFI’s Head of Live Services Paul Lewis said, “If you’re entering the streaming market now, you can’t select all the obvious films because they’re on other carriers and you won’t be able to get the acquisitions for your platform. We’ve selected content that can’t be found elsewhere in the United States. There’s the obvious hook for cinephiles who want to find dig deep into British cinema, but there’s a mixture of content that appeals to all kinds of cinema lovers.” If you’re in the mood for something full of adventure and witty humour, why not check out Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers? If psyshological thrillers are more your thing, Michael Powell’s disturbing Peeping Tom could be just what the doctor ordered. Or perhaps you’re more in the mood for a black comedy such as Alexander Mackendrick’s The Ladykillers. No matter what you choose, BFI’s Head Curator hopes that the streaming service will help to promote the best of British cinema.
People have a preconception of what British cinema is like and it tends to come with a ‘Downton Abbey’ feel about it. The reality of Britain and the nature of filmmaking is so far removed from it all being like that. A lot of what we’re looking at are the key British films that you can’t get on streaming services. Ones I’d highlight would be things like ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets,’ which is a well-known comedy in the United Kingdom that is a wonderful critique of Britishness and stars Alec Guinness in eight different roles, as well as ‘Went the Day Well?,’ which imagined the Nazi invasion of Britain and is a really brutal and savage film that contemporary audiences might be shocked to watch.
After a free seven-day trial, BFI Player Classics will run you $5.99 a month.