As much as the worlds of streaming and film archiving would appear to be mutually supportive, the internet hasn’t thus far been the most fruitful of resources for fans of classic cinema. Netflix, far from the all-encompassing grab bag it’s often billed as, is steadily narrowing its outside film library as its original content production becomes a budget-eating industry in itself. The company’s thin, ill-ordered “classics” division grants golden-oldie status to Pulp Fiction and Groundhog Day, masking its relative dearth of pre-1960 titles.
More specialised platforms such as the BFI Player and the rolling, curated menu of Mubi offer more rarefied options, but are by nature idiosyncratically selective. Even Amazon Prime might not help you if you have an immediate yen for an old Hollywood standard such as The Big Sleep.