Heard of BFI Player? Well, there’s also BFI Player+, a subscription service that offers an all-you-can-eat selection of hand-picked classics.
Every Friday, Mark Kermode highlights one of the collection’s titles with a video introduction. This week, it’s The Immigrant. One of Chaplin’s most famous early shorts finds the Little Tramp aboard a ship bound for America, mistakenly accused of being a pickpocket and then finding true love.
Kermode highlights the blend of chaos and pathos that’s at the heart of its charm, as well as its oddly prophetic pro-immigration stance that counters much of the media’s attitude today towards migrants. Even at the time, its combination of theft, nose-thumbing and kicking immigration officer’s bottoms proved so subversive that the film got Chaplin into trouble with the authorities as supposed proof of his un-American views.
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+:
Duane Hopkins’ stunning debut tells a sombre story with startling beauty, as it follows the stories of various addicts in a West Midlands town.
Based on Noel Coward’s stage play, which was still packing in audiences when the film was released, it sees socialite Charles Condomine hire a medium to conduct a seance in his home – only for the ghost of his dead first wife to begin haunting him and his new wife. Kay Hammond and Margaret Rutherford both reprise their roles from the stage play, with Lean taking the chance to switch from dramas to comedy. The special effects won the film an Oscar, although Coward was unhappy with the changes made to the play for the movie’s script. That, however, didn’t stop them from working together again on Brief Encounter.
A séance results in a man’s first wife returning from the dead in Noël Coward’s wonderful comedy.
The Man from Nowhere
Victorian orphan Alice Harvey – arriving to live at her great uncle’s spooky house – is frightened by a mysterious, dark-clad intruder.
Hands of Destiny
The strange prophesies of Dr Josef Ranald, palm reader of choice to Nazi war leaders.
This Our Still Life
23-year-old Eden is shown drawing and painting still lifes in her Pyrenean family home.
The Last Chapter
Dark tale in which a best-selling author (Denholm Elliot) is unbalanced by an assured young fan (Susan Penhaligon) who questions the move into easy commercialism displayed in his recent work.
The Red Shoes
Powell and Pressburger’s classic 1948 film follows a young ballerina who finds herself torn between two men – a struggling composer and an autocratic impresario. From Black Swan to Martin Scorsese, its influence can be seen dancing throughout cinema history.
A BFI Player+ subscription costs £4.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. For more information, visit http://player.bfi.org.uk.