Update: Some very bad news for Netflix subscribers, apparently this Hulu Plus deal comes at a price. All Criterion titles will be removed from streaming through Netflix Instant by the end of 2011. Criterion says that Hulu seems a better fit for them because of the visibility they are being offered by the service (their own highlighted section, "Criterion" being searchable, etc.) but this writer thinks Netflix really dropped the ball in letting them go. If you can't imagine yourself paying $8 a month and still having to sit through commercials, you're about to have no choice in order to view these classics.
Film nerds rejoice. The Criterion Collection, long known among cinephiles as the gold standard in DVD/Blu-ray production, has just launched a partnership with Hulu Plus to make their titles available for members. Starting today, over 150 titles are available on the streaming service with more than 800 films expected over the coming months. At this very moment you can watch world cinema classics by Fellini, Truffaut, Kurosawa and more including, “The 400 Blows,“ “Breathless,“ “Jules and Jim,“ “M,“ “Playtime,“ “Rashomon,“ “Seven Samurai,“ “La Strada,“ and “The Wages of Fear“ among many others.
Also curious to note is the selection of many titles not currently in DVD or Blu-ray production by Criterion including the films of Charlie Chaplin (“The Kid,” “City Lights,” “The Circus”; though they have licensed them and are likely to appear on hard formats as well), “I Was A Teenage Zombie,” “Four Feathers” and many more. While many of Criterion’s titles are already available for streaming via Netflix Instant, this is just another great way to get these classics in front of people. The one clear advantage with Netflix is that there are no commercials, so how did Criterion get around this? Thanks to their advertising partners any commercials will play before the film and never interrupt the actual presentation. You can read Hulu SVP Eugene Wei and Criteron honcho Peter Becker's thoughts on the deal here and here. For those of you on the fence about Hulu Plus, this may be enough to send you over the edge. You can browse all their titles here and check out a short promo clip below.