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Free Movies at the Internet Archive


sewhite2000
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There's a long running thread providing links to free movies on YouTube. However, YouTube can sometimes prove to be a frustrating source. You click on a link provided here on the message boards only to find the movie in question has been removed already. So here's a possibly more stable alternative source. I'm going to try to post a link to an interesting film every 24 hours or so (for as long as I stay motivated!).

 

I'll begin with GREAT EXPECTATIONS (UK 1946, US 1947), which I recently listed as my favorite Best Picture nominee of the 1940s. I believe it's the first David Lean film that was neither a collaboration with nor adaptation of Noel Coward. Also featuring the first significant film roles of Jean Simmons and Alec Guiness.

 

https://archive.org/details/GreatExpectations1946

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THE SOUTHERNER (1945)

 

From the legendary Jean Renoir's American period. I imagine most movies I post links to here will be movies I've actually SEEN, but I must confess I have never seen this one. You always see it listed in books and online as one of the all-time greats, though, so I'm planning to watch it either tonight or tomorrow. All I know about it is that it's a year in the life of a family that tries to make a go of it in the very tough world of cotton farming. Independently produced and distributed by United Artists back in the day, but its copyright wasn't renewed, and it long ago fell into the PD. I have frankly never heard of the two leads (Zachary Scott and Betty Fields), but the ever-reliable J. Carroll Naish and Beulah Bondi play supporting roles.

 

https://archive.org/details/TheSoutherner

 

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THE SOUTHERNER (1945)

 

From the legendary Jean Renoir's American period. I imagine most movies I post links to here will be movies I've actually SEEN, but I must confess I have never seen this one. You always see it listed in books and online as one of the all-time greats, though, so I'm planning to watch it either tonight or tomorrow. All I know about it is that it's a year in the life of a family that tries to make a go of it in the very tough world of cotton farming. Independently produced and distributed by United Artists back in the day, but its copyright wasn't renewed, and it long ago fell into the ****. I have frankly never heard of the two leads (Zachary Scott and Betty Fields), but the ever-reliable J. Carroll Naish and Beulah Bondi play supporting roles.

 

https://archive.org/details/TheSoutherner

 

I guess you have never seen Mildred Pierce,  the film Joan Crawford one the best actress oscar for.    Anyhow,  Scott was in many good Warner Brother films in the later half of the 40s.

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A LIFE AT STAKE (1954)

 

A zero-budget reworking of DOUBLE INDEMNITY, with Angela Lansbury as the femme fatale and the same basic disguise-a-murder-as-an-accident-to-get-the-insurance-money plot, but with a neat twist on just who's allied with whom that helps distinguish it from the Billy Wilder film. Released by a company I never heard of called Gibraltar Motion Pictures. How they ever got Lansbury, I can't imagine. Maybe she just wanted to prove she could play such a part. Anyway, it breezes by in a rapid 75 minutes and kept me on the edge of my seat! No one else in the cast I had ever heard of except Jane Darwell.

 

https://archive.org/details/life_at_stake

 

 

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Apparently, one cannot abbreviate "public domain" on this forum, although I'm uncertain what dirty words the letters p and d might stand for. I'll be up all night trying to figure that one out ...

I've just checked the urban dictionary, there are definitely a few possibilities!

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Oh, yes, I've seen MILDRED PIERCE, probably a dozen times or more, thanks to its constant airing on TCM. I just didn't know the actor's name. Is he the actor who plays Mildred's husband?

 

Scott is the Mildred's second husband.  The one that sleeps with her daughter and is killed.    Bruce Bennett is her first husband (her daughter's bio-father).

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Certainly one of the pleasures of my years of watching TCM is slowly connecting the dots between films, particularly when it comes to character actors and supporting players. I always love when I have an epiphany: "Oh my gosh, it's the same guy (girl)!" But even though I know a lot more about movies than I used to, I still have plenty to learn. Thanks for the info, James.

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THE BELOVED ROGUE (1927)

 

I'm pausing roughly halfway into this silent John Barrymore swashbuckler from United Artists to post a link. The silent era is the film period where my knowledge is weakest, and this is my first-ever Barrymore silent. And it is REALLY silent on the Internet Archive, I must warn people. There's not even a score or soundtrack. But the sets and props and costumes are amazing. I love the grandeur that went into many silent films. It's got just a touch of German Expressionism to it, which is altogether appropriate, because Conrad Veidt is also in the cast.

 

As Louis Villon, the greatest poet, drunkard and womanizer of early 1400s France, Barrymore is playing halfway between Fairbanks and Keaton. I don't know that I can neatly summarize the plot of the first 45 minutes: Barrymore/Villon is proclaimed King of All Fools Day and manages to make a mortal enemy of the powerful Duke of Burgundy, who is being sucked up to by King Louis XI (Veidt) at the advice of his astrologer, although the duke is scheming to seize the throne for himself. Villon is banished to exile for life, but almost immediately returns as a sort of Robin Hood, distributing food and liquor to the starving poor of Paris. He also falls for the king's lovely young ward, who's about to have to marry against her will to the duke's cousin.

 

That's where I've left off: I plan to watch the second half sometime before going to bed.

 

https://archive.org/details/TheBelovedRogue

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Took most of the weekend off from watching any movies, but here's one from completely out of left field:

 

IRON CLAW THE PIRATE (1969)

 

https://archive.org/details/DemirPenceKorsanAdamironClawThePirate1969

 

A Turkish film that isn't as out-there crazy as reading its IMDB page might lead one to think, but it definitely would make a great episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It appears to be influenced in equal parts by the Bond movies and the Batman TV show. For those of you who hate subtitles, the good news is there are no subtitles! There's also no overdubbing, so unless you speak Turkish, you may be a little lost. Then again, how much do you need to understand? Here's what I could figure out without understanding a word:

 

1)There's a good spy organization, and a male and female member of that organization like to put on Batman and Batgirl-type outfits sometimes and ride around on motorcycles. Sometimes, they get into Batman-TV-show biff-bam-pow fistfights with the bad guys, but they seem to have no qualms about just shooting them most of the time. One member of the good guy team has a running comic gag the whole movie about how he'll smoke any cigarette he can get his hands on, even if he has to pick up a half-used one off the floor.

 

2)There's a bad guy spy organization, clearly led by the French pulp fiction villian Fantomas. His henchmen wear F's on their chests. I don't know if the character was in the public domain - no one making the movie appeared to be concerned about being sued for copyright violation. He kindaps a professor's daughter to try to force the professor to do ... something. That was never really clear.

 

3) And there's a lot of female skin! I found this a bit shocking. I must confess almost total ignorance as to what the state of public decorum was in Turkey in 1969. Isn't Turkey a Muslim country? There are no burkas in this movie! There are several belly dancing scenes, and Fantomas has a number of good looking female attendants who occasionally lounge around his lair in bra and panties.

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yes, Turkey is a Muslim country.

 

when this movie was made, Turkey was living in the aftermath of the modernization policies of the reform leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938). the movie apparently took advantage of the separation of state and religion provisions that were enacted as law during and after the administration of the Ataturk and his successors.

 

the 21st century has brought a neo-conservative reaction to these reforms with pressure to rollback the laws instituted by the Ataturk.

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yes, Turkey is a Muslim country.

 

when this movie was made, Turkey was living in the aftermath of the modernization policies of the reform leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938). the movie apparently took advantage of the separation of state and religion provisions that were enacted as law during and after the administration of the Ataturk and his successors.

 

the 21st century has brought a neo-conservative reaction to these reforms with pressure to rollback the laws instituted by the Ataturk.

 

With the election yesterday,   the roll back may pick up even more steam. 

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Thanks for the info, allthumbs. I remember the name Ataturk from my high school and college world history classes, and that he was part of shaping the post-colonial era of what we used to call the "Third World", but I didn't really know anything about internal reforms he made in Turkey.

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ROCK, ROCK, ROCK (1956)

 

https://archive.org/details/rock_rock_rock

 

I think this film played on TCM as recently as a day in March when the daytime programming was devoted to rock & roll-themed movies. Thirteen-year-old Tuesday Weld makes her film debut as a girl waiting for her boyfriend to ask to her to the prom, but he's mostly thinking about winning an amateur competition to get a spot on Alan Freed's rock & roll TV show. Also, a new girl in town has her eyes on the young man. This barely-there romantic triangle plot is frequently interrupted by music performances, not only by the stars of the day, but also by the young leads (Weld's singing voice is overdubbed by a then-unknown Connie Francis, whose stardom was still a couple of years away).

 

There are two one-sentence user movie reviews on this Website, both of which indicate that ROCK, ROCK, ROCK is maybe not only the worst rock & roll movie ever but also maybe the worst movie of all time! And as far as script, acting and production values go, it's incredibly amateurish, but you sure can't knock the talent roster! Freed is considered the godfather of rock & roll (Why is the Rock & Roll of Fame in Cleveland? Because that's where Freed was from!). It was unfortunate he was destroyed by the payola scandal (Dick Clark was as guilty as Freed, but he was better-looking and more personable, and he skated by with nothing but a slap on the wrist). Anyway, he wasn't going to lend his name to a crummy movie, at least not as far as the talent list was concerned. The Moonglows, Chuck Berry, the Flamingos, LaVern Baker, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers ... these are all major figures in the early history of rock & roll, though, sadly, the songs they perform are among their more obscure. Interestingly, all these performers were black. I don't know how well that helped the movie go over with white audiences in 1956 as opposed to, say, having, Bill Haley or Jerry Lee Lewis in your movie.

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TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE (1959)

 

https://archive.org/details/TeenagersFromOuterSpace1959

 

Ed Wood is pretty much the only low-budget sci-fi "auteur" who ever gets mentioned from this period, but this film was written, produced and directed by one man - Tom Graeff. It was distributed by major studio Warner Bros. back in '59, according to imdb, but has since fallen into the public domain. The central character is Derek, the son of the leader of an alien planet. He's part of an expedition seeking a suitable planet on which to unleash a bunch of reptilian creatures who will feed on the local populace and then in turn be used as food by the aliens. But when Derek discovers the planet the expedition is checking out - Earth, of course - has intelligent life, he flees his comrades and ingratiates himself with the local populace, particularly a pretty teenage girl living with her kindly grandfather. While the rest of the expedition goes back to the home planet to load up on reptilian creatures to bring to Earth, one member - Thor (no kidding!) - remains behind to hunt Derek down, and he's not terribly subtle in the process, killing animals and humans with his atomizing ray gun left and right.

 

The trusting acceptance of the Earthlings of Derek and Thor into their midst is laughably unbelievable. I feel it much more likely in 1959 a stranger to a small town wearing some sort of paramilitary outfit and not seeming to know what a car is would probably be branded a Communist on the spot and lynched! But if you're into cheesey '50s sci-fi films, this one is pretty fun.

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MADE FOR EACH OTHER (1939)

 

https://archive.org/details/madefor_each_other

 

Here's an A-list release that's ended up in the public domain, a Selznick International Picture released through United Artists, starring no less than James Stewart, Carole Lombard and Charles Coburn in that most ballyhooed of Hollywood years, 1939.

 

Movies about struggling young couples trying to move ahead in the world aren't really my favorite genre - perhaps the subject matter hits too uncomfortably close to the real world for me - but this film is engaging and well-acted. I suppose Lombard was a bigger star at the time than Stewart - I'm not sure if this film came out before or after MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON from the same year. She holds in most of the goofiness she expresses in her more comedic pictures. In contrast, Stewart is still in his gangly, gooney-bird phase. I find his movements and facial reactions often a little too broad in this picture, but you can also sense the greatness that's about to emerge.

 

Stewart plays a lawyer in a firm run by Colburn who gets sent from NYC to Boston to collect a deposition, meets local girl Lombard on his first night in town, and within 24 hours, they're married, and within the shortest amount of time allowed by Production Code standards, they're parents. When Coburn gives a partnership in the firm to an unctuous suck-up instead of Stewart, he feels himself sinking into a rut and is filled with shame that he isn't providing for his wife, child and widowed mother who lives with them the way he should. Lombard is pretty terrific in her role - she has to be equal parts gentle cheerleader and tough-as-nails life skills coach to try to motivate her man to move ahead.

 

I found the movie to be more drama than comedy, but there are some fairly subtle comic double entendres that managed to sneak past the Production Code. Though it's never explicitly shown, it's obvious that the couple shares a bed - they have no choice in their tiny apartment. They are married, but even married couples weren't shown in the same bed in 1939. But at least in this film, there's only one bed in the bedroom, and there's a scene where Lombard reaches out for Stewart in the middle of the night only to find him pacing the room. Also, there was a very subtle reference to breast feeding that I never thought would make it into a 1939 film.

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Stewart is still in his gangly, gooney-bird phase.

 

I'm going to save this in a doc on my computer so I can use it again.   Just love that!

 

I do enjoy many pre-WWII Stewart performances and films but often when he was in that phase it does get old quick.

 

To me his best work was after he came back from the war especially in the Mann westerns and Hitchcock films. 

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PILOT X (aka DEATH IN THE AIR) (1936)

 

https://archive.org/details/Pilot_X__1936

 

This is a pretty good little mystery from some long-ago forgotten indie studio. A mysterious Pilot X is swooping out of the clouds and somehow causing explosions on passenger planes. It just so happens all the world's pilots (about a half dozen) who might be skillful enough to be Pilot X are in the same location, so the owner of the plane manufacturing concern whose planes have been targeted most often by Pilot X, invites them all out to his country manor for an extended stay, while a psychiatrist spies on them through a peephole and tries to profile which one has the traits of a homicidal maniac. Also on hand are the corporate bigwig's engineer son (an almost unrecognizable Leon Ames, pretty much the only person in the cast I'd ever heard of) and his pretty young ward (a beautiful 21-year-old actress named Lona Andre), whom the son would like to marry, but she begins to find herself drawn to the most dashing of the murder suspects (John Carroll).

 

The pacing is a little odd - it's like TOP GUN was interrupted in the middle for 35 minutes of an Agatha Christie drawing room mystery - but once Pilot X's identity is revealed, we get back in the air for a big showdown. But it kept me guessing. It's barely more than an hour long, and my attention never lagged.

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ROLLING HOME (1946)

 

https://archive.org/details/rolling_home_1946

 

A well-past-his-prime rodeo performer and his (apparently) orphaned grandson go in search of a vet in Norman Rockwell-esque small town after their horse injures his leg in competition. There's no vet, and the old man couldn't have paid for one anyway, but the local preacher happens to have been the son of a vet and offers to take the pair in while setting the horse up in a kind of homemade traction device so his leg can heal. We learn there is some drama going on in the town. Despite the prosperity of its residents, the church is on the verge of going under because nobody seems generous enough to do anything about it. The town's leading luminaries seem to think the preacher should just marry the wealthy (young) local widow, who clearly has the hots for him, and she'll save the church. But the widow has a snobby sense of superiority. The preacher much prefers her niece. Meanwhile, the widow's young daughter and the boy develop chaste crushes on one another through their mutual love of the horse, who heals completely. They conspire to enter the horse in a race with a $5,000 top prize, enough to save the church and keep the horse out of the clutches of the widow, who has taken him as collateral on a personal loan to the preacher to pay for expensive medical equipment for the grandfather. The story borrows a bit from NATIONAL VELVET, as the kids have to figure out who's going to ride the horse in the race, as they themselves will never be allowed (at least if it's known they're children).

 

It's all more than a little hokey with a schmaltzy violin soundtrack intruding at every opportunity, and this print isn't very good, but it's definitely a watchable little indie B (or C?) pic. The only people in the cast I had ever heard of were Harey Carey, Jr. in a bit part, beginning his film career just after coming back home from World War II, and of considerable interest to TCM fans, an 11-year-old Jo Ann Marlow who, the previous year, had played (spoiler alert!) the doomed younger daughter in MILDRED PIERCE. She has a sizable role as the widow's precocious, much nicer daughter who conspires with the boy.

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Before I post my next Internet Archive viewing, here's a recap of the first 10 films I've watched at the site since beginning this thread:

 

Great Expectations (1946)

The Southerner (1945)

A Life at Stake (1954)

The Beloved Rogue (1927)

Iron Claw the Pirate (1969)

Rock, Rock, Rock (1956)

Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)

Made for Each Other (1939)

Pilot X (1936)

Rolling Home (1946)

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SPELLBOUND (aka PASSING CLOUDS, aka THE SPELL OF AMY NUGENT, aka GHOST STORY)

(1941)

 

https://archive.org/details/Spellbound_1941

 

Not the Hitchcock film with Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, but a terrific British mystery/horror film about a wealthy young man (Derek Farr) who doesn't appear to have the need for a profession but runs in competitive track events. His widowed mother (Winifred Davis) hopes he'll marry a young woman from his own social class (Diana Hilton) who's clearly devoted to him, but he's fallen for a pretty but frail commoner (Diana King) who mans the counter of a little shop owned by her parents. The very day he breaks his mother's heart by announcing his intention to marry the shop girl, the shop girl's weak heart gives out, and she dies. After meeting a spiritualist (Hay Petrie), he becomes obsessed with coming in contact with his deceased fiancee. The still-loyal girl from his own social class tries to convince him the spiritualist is a fraud out to con him in some way, but the spiritualist provides some pretty convincing evidence of his own. I will reveal no more, except to say it kept me guessing until almost the very end. I wasn't personally familiar with any of the cast members, but I provided names so that those of you more savvy about British film actors might recognize them.

 

I have no idea why all the alternative titles. Maybe it was released multiple times under different names.

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SPELLBOUND (aka PASSING CLOUDS, aka THE SPELL OF AMY NUGENT, aka GHOST STORY)

(1941)

 

Sounds really interesting. I note that the writer is Miles Malleson, also an actor; he played Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest. Other names I recognize include Felix Aylmer and Joyce Redman in a very early role, she of the famous eating scene in Tom Jones. I will check it out -- thanks!

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Oh, sorry, just now seeing Darkblue's question. Well, I had already listed GREAT EXPECTATIONS as my favorite of all the '40s films nominated for Best Picture before I even started this thread, so that's clearly right up there, but let's toss that one aside. I would say my favorite is either A LIFE AT STAKE, which is a zero-budget twist on DOUBLE INDEMNITY (although somehow they got Angela Lansbury to be in it) or SPELLBOUND, the movie I just posted.

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