Classic Cinema on ITVX Premium

Hello and welcome to another Vintage Media Millennial blog. Huzzah! I finally feel the urge to write again, and hopefully with some fluency from now on. It also helps that my interest has been piqued thanks to a subscription to a streaming service, and their outrageously brilliant selection of cinema history!

When ITVX first launched, I have to admit that I didn’t have high expectations for it. They had signed deals with various parties and looked to be expanding on their previous effort, ITV Hub, but still thought it would end up pretty average. After much thought and influence from outside sources, I can confirm that I am a fan of the service.

I have been an intermittent subscriber to their premium service for the last year or so, mainly as the combination of ad-free ITV content, Britbox and StudioCanal Presents seemed like too good an opportunity to miss; Especially with the help of excellent price deals. After a lengthy break, we recently decided to subscribe again. The thinking was to finish watching the available series of The Brittas Empire, then cancel. We finished the excellent series, and then an amazing discovery kept us in.

We had scrolled through the StudioCanal Presents section before, browsing through the list of many classic titles from their library. We had previously viewed The Graduate because of a lifelong curiosity about the film but didn’t stray any further. Then a few days ago, I suddenly remembered the 1963 film Billy Liar and felt a desire to see it for the first time. After a search on my Fire Stick, I found out that it is available on StudioCanal’s offering. I watched it the next day and loved it. Since then, we’ve scanned through the films across ITVX Premium and made a long list of the ones we want to see.

I haven’t felt this excited about streaming for a long time. After Disney+ started to remove mass chunks of their catalogue content from the UK service, I began to lose patience with streaming. Aside from the big hitters, streaming seems to look down at anything remotely vintage. An exception is the likes of Plex and Freevee, but the quality control isn’t always present. ITVX and StudioCanal Presents, with their various acquired libraries, seem to value classic cinema, presenting it in an accessible way and in excellent quality.

Not only that, but it is clear that much care is taken over the restoration of the content. Just last week, I watched an excellent HD restoration of Morecambe and Wise’s That Riviera Touch (1966). The restored ITV-owned Rank film was first made available back in December on ITVX and has never looked cleaner. Even though some of the people involved in the job didn’t know who Morecambe and Wise were, they still understood there was a market for it. Other films will no doubt get the same treatment in the future, and I welcome that with open arms. StudioCanal, likewise, regularly restores its libraries; Many of these have been reviewed on this site.

If I had one criticism of ITVX’s classic film selection, it is the quantity. As I found with other services, I quickly burn my way through a large section of films in no time. ITV owns hundreds of films from the Rank library, it would be nice to see a wider selection, even if only on a rotating basis. Likewise for StudioCanal, which is also on Apple TV and Amazon.

Overall, I am excited to work my way through my list of films; Including the likes of The Ladykillers (1955), The Man in the White Suit (1951), Genevieve (1954) and The Blue Lamp (1950). I’m also hoping to rewatch some of the Carry-On films, most of which are on there despite separate ownership.

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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