Netflix Watch Instantly Adds Some More Criterion Films! Powell and Pressburger, David Lean, Laurence Olivier, and Götz Spielmann! [Criterion on Netflix]

Another great day for those of us with Netflix accounts, and are tech savvy enough to use their Watch Instantly services. It seems like each month we are getting more and more Criterion Collection additions to the list of films available to stream over the internet. In the latest episode of CriterionCast, we talk about the recent news that Netflix has signed deals with a number of independent film distributors, like Criterion and Kino.

Today’s additions bring us many Powell and Pressburger, and David Lean films, giving instant access to many of the late Jean Simmons’ appearances in the Collection. One addition of significance is the addition of Götz Spielmann’s Revanche, which is making it’s debut on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray today as well as streaming. A few weeks back we saw this happen with Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, hopefully this will become more and more common.

You can find links to even more links to those Criterion Collection films that are available to watch instantly in our previous posts on the matter. In December we gave you a list of 35 films that were added, and in January, about twenty more.

What’s that? You don’t have a Netflix account? Why not click the links in the sidebar and give it a whirl for free?

Again, a huge thanks go out to the fine folks at Streaming Soon, who are the best source for those of us who like to know what’s going to be available on Netflix Watch Instantly soon.

[Update from the Editor: It has come to our attention that the version of The Red Shoes that is streaming on Netflix is actually the newly restored print! Even better!]

49th Parallel

Michael Powell

At once a compelling piece of anti-isolationist propaganda and a quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel is a classic early work from the inimitable British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. When a Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II, the men evade capture by hiding out in a series of rural communities, before trying to cross the border into the still-neutral United States. Both soul-stirring and delightfully entertaining, 49th Parallel features a colorful cast of characters played by larger-than-life actors Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, Anton Walbrook, and Leslie Howard.

Buy 49th Parallel on Amazon.

Black Narcissus

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Plagued by uncertainties and worldly desires, five Protestant missionary nuns, led by Deborah Kerr’s Sister Clodagh, struggle to establish a school in the desolate Himalayas. All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger’s fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh, set against the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga.

Buy Black Narcissus on Amazon.

Brief Encounter

David Lean

From Noël Coward’s play Still Life, legendary filmmaker David Lean deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance in the dour, gray Britain of 1945. From a chance meeting on a train platform, a middle-aged married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) enter into a quietly passionate, ultimately doomed love affair, set to a swirling Rachmaninoff score.

Buy Brief Encounter on Amazon.

Great Expectations

David Lean

One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life. Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella populate Lean’s magnificent miniature, beautifully photographed by Guy Green and designed by John Bryan.

Buy Great Expectations on Amazon.

Green for Danger

Sidney Gilliat

In the midst of Nazi air raids, a postman dies on the operating table at a rural English hospital. But was the death accidental? A delightful and wholly unexpected murder mystery, British writer/director Sidney Gilliat’s Green for Danger features Trevor Howard and Sally Gray as suspected doctors and Alastair Sim in a marvelous turn as Scotland Yard’s insouciant Inspector Cockrill. A screenwriter who had worked with Hitchcock on such films as The Lady Vanishes and Jamaica Inn, Gilliat slyly upends whodunit conventions with wit and style.

Buy Green for Danger on Amazon.


Laurence Olivier

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired’”both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself’”as he breathes new life into the words of one of the world’s greatest dramatists.

Buy Hamlet on Amazon.

I Know Where I’m Going

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, romance flourishes in an unlikely place’”the bleak and moody Scottish Hebrides. Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to these remote isles to marry a rich lord. Stranded by stormy weather, she meets a handsome naval officer (Roger Livesey) who threatens to thwart her carefully laid-out life plans.

Buy I Know Where I’m Going on Amazon.

Life & Death of Colonel Blimp

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

The passions and pitfalls of a lifetime in the military are dramatized in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s magnificent epic, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The film follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy (Roger Livesey) as he battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence.

Buy the Life and Death of Colonel Blimp on Amazon.

Oliver Twist

David Lean

Expressionistic noir photography suffuses David Lean’s Oliver Twist with a nightmarish quality, fitting its bleak, industrial setting. In Dickens’ classic tale, an orphan wends his way from cruel apprenticeship to den of thieves in search of a true home. Here Alec Guinness is the quintessential Fagin, his controversial performance fully restored in Criterion’s digital transfer.

Buy Oliver Twist on Amazon. 

Red Shoes

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

A glorious Technicolor epic that influenced generations of filmmakers, artists, and aspiring ballerinas, The Red Shoes intricately weaves backstage life with the thrill of performance. A young ballerina (Moira Shearer) is torn between two forces: the composer who loves her (Marius Goring), and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer (Anton Walbrook).

Buy the Red Shoes on Amazon.


Götz Spielmann

A gripping thriller and a tragic drama of nearly Greek proportions, Revanche is the stunning, Oscar-nominated international breakthrough of Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann. In a ragged section of Vienna, hardened ex-con Alex (the mesmerizing Johannes Krisch) works in a brothel, where he falls for Ukrainian hooker Tamara. Their desperate plans for escape unexpectedly intersect with the lives of a rural cop and his seemingly content wife. With meticulous, elegant direction, Spielmann creates a tense, existential, and surprising portrait of vengeance and redemption, and a journey into the darkest forest of human nature, in which violence and beauty exist side by side.

Buy Revanche on Amazon.

This Sporting Life

Lindsay Anderson

One of the finest British films ever made, this benchmark of ‘kitchen-sink realism’ follows the self-defeating professional and romantic pursuits of a miner turned rugby player eking out an existence in drab Yorkshire. With an astonishing, raging performance by a young Richard Harris, an equally blistering turn by fellow Oscar nominee Rachel Roberts as the widow with whom he lodges, and electrifying direction by Lindsay Anderson, in his feature-film debut following years of documentary work, This Sporting Life remains a dramatic powerhouse.

Buy This Sporting Life on Amazon.

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