Feb 19, 2020
Streaming Diary: Classics to Stream for Free on Tubi
I am a huge fan of the free streaming service Tubi, because it’s allowed me to catch up on so many great cult and horror titles. I’ve noticed lately though that the service also has a fair number of good classic films available as well. Here are a few of my favorites:
Merrily We Live (1938) In a plot a bit like My Man Godfrey (1936) (which is also available on Tubi), a society matron (Billie Burke) hires a man (Brian Aherne) who she believes to be a tramp to work as a butler and he falls for the woman’s charming daughter (Constance Bennett). While it isn’t exactly a lost classic, mostly because Aherne doesn’t quite have the sparkle to be a truly successful screwball performer, this is nevertheless a light-hearted, clever bit of chaos with an excellent cast.
Topper Returns (1941) As much as I adore Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as the glamorous, ghostly Kirbys in Topper (1937), I’ve always found the sequel more entertaining. This has a lot to do with Joan Blondell, who stars in one of her most amusing post-production code roles.
Fanny (1961) Leslie Caron plays a young woman in a seaside French village who is impregnated by her sailor boyfriend (Horst Buchholz) before he goes out to sea for a long voyage. Maurice Chevalier is the lonely local merchant who offers a platonic marriage so that he may fulfill his dreams of parenthood. The sweetness and empathy of the characters make this an unusually charming film.
The Red House (1947) Though Edward G. Robinson and Judith Anderson are effective as a brother and sister hiding a tragic family secret, I tend to forget about them, because twenty-something Rory Calhoun and Julie London are so sizzling as a pair of teenage lovers on the edges of the action. Overall this is has long been an underrated noir and it's great that it's finally, deservedly, getting more attention.
The 10th Victim (1965) In this eye-poppingly mod Italian production, Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress are participants in a government-sponsored game in which the players alternate being killer and victim. This deadly serious concept is played for laughs in a candy-coated future full of shallow minds where comic books are considered as lofty as classic novels. Sometimes the parody hits a bit too close to home.