Another thing HBO Max has that Netflix doesn't: Classic movies from yesteryear

  • Cary Grant stars in "North by Northwest," part of HBO Max's extensive collection of classic films.

    Cary Grant stars in "North by Northwest," part of HBO Max's extensive collection of classic films.

 
 
Posted8/20/2020 8:27 AM

A constant complaint about Netflix has been its lack of classic movies. Finding anything older than 1970 seems darn near impossible. Hulu and Amazon aren't much better, and cinephiles turn to the Criterion Channel or other smaller services to scratch the itch that Turner Classic Movies would provide to cable subscribers.

But the tide is turning a bit, thanks to a somewhat surprising name: HBO Max.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And Turner Classic Movies is partly to thank. If you scroll down to the "HBO Max Hubs" section of the app, you'll see a TCM logo. Click it and you'll find a treasure trove of films you probably haven't seen on a streaming service before.

Those include 19 Charlie Chaplin movies by my count, including his most beloved classics, "Modern Times" (1936) and "The Great Dictator" (1940). Fancy a little suspense? There are seven Alfred Hitchcock movies, ranging from the obscure (1927's "The Lodger") to the iconic (1959's "North by Northwest").

You can sort alphabetically or browse by classic categories within the TCM hub: romance, action, musicals, even 1980s comedies. (I don't think TCM would ever show the 1985 Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd comedy "Spies Like Us," but HBO certainly showed it a million times when I was a kid.)

Need somewhere to start? You can't go wrong with "The Adventures of Robin Hood," old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment at its best. The 1938 version of the famous story stars Errol Flynn as Robin, Claude "Casablanca" Rains as the haughty Prince John, and the recently departed Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian. It's a Technicolor delight.

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HBO Max costs $14.99 after a seven-day trial period, or comes free with your existing HBO cable subscription.

James Hetfield, left, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica can be seen performing a new filmed concert at drive-in theaters next weekend.
James Hetfield, left, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica can be seen performing a new filmed concert at drive-in theaters next weekend. - Associated Press
Whiplash at the drive-in:

OK, so, I told you I'm willing to pay $29.99 on top of my Disney+ subscription fee to watch the new live-action "Mulan" on Sept. 4 when it skips American theaters and goes straight to the Mouse's streaming service.

What I'm not willing to pay is $115 to go to a drive-in and see a filmed concert by my favorite band, even though it's the first time they've played a full show together since last year.

But if you want to see "Encore Drive-In Nights Presents: Metallica" next Saturday, you can buy a ticket good for up to six people in one car at ticketmaster.com/metallica. They'll throw in four digital downloads of the band's new symphonic live album, "S&M2," while they're at it.

Local venues showing the concert include the Chicago Drive-In at the Sears Centre parking lot in Hoffman Estates, and the Parking Lot Cinema at Marcus Theatres' Elgin location, 111 S. Randall Road.

• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who honestly thinks "Reload" is one of Metallica's best albums.

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