by Rob Boylan
So, yesterday we reported Criterion's may release slate, which included their second Charlie Chaplin release, The Great Dictator. In that blog, I went ahead an openly wished for Criterion to release City Lights as well.
Criterion now has their own channel on the online video streaming site, and it's stocked with 150 films. It does cost $7.99 a month, but seems to actually be worth the price.
But as well at that they are streaming many as yet unreleased titles they own the rights to, such as the Zatoichi collection (I'm not counting them, but there are a hell of a lot), the Chaplin films (plus The Gold Rush, The Circus and Limelight), Michael Powell's The Spy in Black, an early Olivier film called The Divorce of Lady X, William Cameron Mendes's adaptation of of HG Wells' Things to Come, and Kurosawa's final film, Madadayo amongst others.
It's long been speculated that the Eclipse line was brought about by to placate the complaining producers of the overflow of titles Criterion and Janus Films had bought the rights to and then never released. This seems to follow in that same mold, and it's a great thing for film fans and whinging producers alike. The rumored list of "maybe" films that some fans have been hoping for for years may now get to see the light of day, even if it's just to stream.
A little more information now. The deal with Hulu effectively ends Criterion's streaming relationship with Netflix. The relationship will not be immediately severed (and DVD/Bluray will continually be available for rental), but "all of the films that are currently on Netflix streaming will be down by the end of the year," according to Criterion's Facebook page.
But the Criterion streaming selections have never been very good on Netflix, and are hard to find unless you are suggested it or know what you are looking for. This deal with Hulu is a little more direct and still beneficial to everyone (except Netflix and Blockbuster), but a little less of a joyous event to know that Netflix is out of the Criterion stream game.