Jul 25, 2019

Streaming Diary: Classic Films on Hoopla

The streaming services from my city and county library are one of my favorite sources of classic films. While not every system has subscriptions to services like Kanopy and Hoopla, many do, from city and county systems to universities. While I subscribe to a handful of streaming services, I spend most of my time watching discs borrowed from the library and films on Hoopla and Kanopy. I have plenty to keep me busy!

Here are some of my latest favorites streaming on Hoopla:

That Guy Dick Miller (2015)
The recent death of prolific character actor Dick Miller makes this tender tribute to him all the more touching. With a distinctive carved-from-granite face and a plethora of cameo roles in Roger Corman and Joe Dante films, among many others, pretty much anyone who loves the movies knows this guy. Here friends, family, coworkers, and the man himself discuss his turbulent, but essentially happy life and career. I didn’t think I could love Miller any more, but the man revealed here is a truly special human being.

Amphibian Man (1962)
The title of this Soviet fantasy flick led me to expect a sci-fi creature feature like Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). While there are elements of sci-fi in this story of a young man who can breathe under the sea, it offers more romance and fantasy than chills. The Amphibian Man is not only a sweet guy, but also in love with a girl on land. It's a charming story.

Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
I always thought this would be the perfect film for whatever the 1930s version of a Goth girl would be. Fredric March has a deliciously dangerous take on his role as Death, who as the title indicates takes a breather from retrieving souls from the mortal world. His reason: a big crush on the moodily romantic Evelyn Venable.

Gambit (1967)
There are some things about this Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine caper that haven’t aged well, but it’s still an intriguing, good-looking thriller. Caine hires MacLaine to help him steal a priceless artifact from the wealthy, and savvy, Herbert Lom. In a long opening sequence, Caine imagines a flawless, sophisticated operation that fulfills his wildest dreams. The reality that follows is messier and much more entertaining.

The House of the Seven Gables (1940)
The impact of two performers as potent as Vincent Price and George Sanders playing brothers in this very loose adaptation of the classic Nathaniel Hawthorne book was almost more than I could process. It’s no surprise that Margaret Lindsay gets a bit lost here, though she is nevertheless effective herself in an unusually substantial dramatic lead.

The Red House (1947)
After struggling for years to view this beautifully bizarre country Gothic on horrible public domain prints, it is such a revelation to see a restored version. Starring Edward G. Robinson and Judith Anderson as brother and sister and Rory Calhoun and Julie London as the hottest twenty-something teen lovers ever, there’s a lot going on in this suspense thriller about a dark, hidden family history.


  1. DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY is really good! I was so impressed by March's performance and the haunting, romantic atmosphere.

    Hoopla and the library are seriously Godsends. I watch so many classic movies through the streaming and inter-library loan, it isn't even funny.

    Other good discoveries I've found on Hoopla are THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with Peter Cushing (*sighs dreamily*), SUDDENLY with Frank Sinatra, and several Max Linder silent films.

  2. Same, I must have seen thousands of movies thanks to my library card. I got my first taste of Linder thanks to Hoopla and I love him! Thanks for the tip on the Cushing HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, I haven't seen that for years and would love to revisit it.