Hello and welcome to another Vintage Media Millennial blog post. If you’re new here, I’m a thirty-something giving my opinion on classic movies, TV and music. In my interest in vintage, I’m always scouting streaming services looking for classic movies and television series. Once upon a time, Amazon Prime was a hot destination for such content. Then Disney offered promise with their subsequent launch and introduction of the Star hub, before taking off a whole load of interesting older content. Now, Amazon looks to take the lead again with their Freevee service.
Recently rebranded, Freevee has really stepped up its game in the last few months. From their acquisition to broadcast old and new episodes of Australian soap Neighbours, to a plethora of classic television from libraries including Sony; Classic TV is slowly finding a new home.
Movies of a particular vintage are getting pretty comfortable too, with Amazon‘s recent MGM acquisition supplying the service with a nice smattering of films from the various libraries acquired before and after Ted Turner’s actions that eventually rendered “true” MGM productions property of Warner Bros.
One of the libraries becoming more present in the service is that of United Artists. While many of the big titles are reserved for pay options, there are a few that have slipped through the cracks and are available to view with ads.
Just last weekend, my wife and I sat down to watch 1974’s The Taking of Pelham 123, a crime thriller starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. We hadn’t seen this movie before, and were utterly captivated by it; the thrilling elements were beautifully offset by comedy to ramp up the tension. The production values, as expected, were incredibly high, and the acting was stellar. Some moments would be handled differently today, but it felt true of a drama made and set in the 1970s. In this writer’s opinion, anything uncomfortable doesn’t take away from the story, the tension or the overall achievement too much; It only helps to contextualise the times they were living in. I would highly recommend it to those who love a tense crime thriller from this era.
In my mind, there are two ways of looking at the inclusion of these old films on a free ad-supported service. One could see them as cheap filler for a service with a higher priority on original content, thus having little value. On the other hand, these highly regarded cinematic pieces could also be a draw that entices a viewer to try the service. After all, I watched Pelham because I had heard of it, and this was a way to see it without too much interruption. Honestly, the adverts weren’t too intrusive, didn’t last too long and gave us time to refresh ourselves before the next manoeuvre in the plot; it’s certainly less troublesome than television advertising.
After watching Pehlam, I felt excited to see more of what Freevee has to offer. I’ve already seen Network 1974) and The Great Train Robbery (1978) are also available to stream at no extra cost, and I look forward to viewing them immensely.
So what else is there to say? I’ve said enough at this time. Thank you so much for reading this edition of the Vintage Media Millennial blog. If you have any opinions on the subjects touched upon here, comment below or email Jamie@OldTimeReview.co.uk. Have a great week!