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Criterion Collection Classic Comedies Available on Hulu

The words “Criterion Collection” are for fans of classic movies what “Mint Condition” is for comic book collectors. The quality goes in before those words go on. Not to suggest that every once in awhile a rather strange choice doesn’t make it into the Criterion Collection, but then again a perfectly preserved first edition of a “Friends” comic book would still qualify as being in Mint Condition. One of the things that makes a Criterion Collection DVD such a wonderful collectible for the serious film lover is the wealth of extra features that provide a more broadly based appreciation of these recognized masterworks from Hollywood and foreign countries. Hulu Plus provides access to a number of films contained with the Criterion Collection, but without those extras. Get to know some classic comedies from Criterion if you subscribe to Hulu and they may just stimulate you to search out those extras on the disc. Just like Hulu plus you can Watch Free Movies Online and Stream Everything on tinyzone.

The Ruling Class

Think that movies from decades ago can’t surprise, shock, or overwhelm you? Trust me: you’ve never seen a comedy quite like “The Ruling Class.” Peter O’Toole gives one of his most memorable performances in this truly one of a kind movie that will remind you of nothing that you have seen in a first-run theater in the past few decades. It has been observed by many that “The Ruling Class” is a movie that has just about something for everyone: musical numbers, slapstick, dark drama, bizarre situations, autoerotic asphyxiation, Jack the Ripper and Jesus Christ. And, don’t forget, it’s a comedy! This is the one that Peter O’Toole should have won an Oscar for, but some reason Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor despite being onscreen in “The Godfather” for less time than Best Supporting Actor nominees James Caan, Al Pacino, and Robert Duvall.

Smiles of a Summer Night

The Criterion Collection has introduced more than a few moviegoers to the films of Ingmar Bergman. Personally, I prefer his darker dramas over “Smiles of a Summer Night” but if you want evidence that Bergman does make comedies, this is the one to go. Look closely enough and you will find humor inside even those darker dramas just as you can find darkness inside this romantic romp. “Smiles of a Summer Night” is not a fast-moving romantic romp, understand, but a sedate little sex comedy. A sex comedy taking place, not on a summer night, but the Summer Night. If that sentence doesn’t make you think of a Woody Allen movie, you probably won’t like this comedy.

The Rules of the Game

On the other hand, if you enjoy “Smiles of a Summer Night” you will probably enjoy “The Rules of the Game” and vice versa. You will probably enjoy this Jean Renoir comedy even more since it contains some silly scenes of slapstick intended to heighten awareness of the absolutely ridiculous of men when it comes to the games of sexuality. “The Rules of the Game” is more along the lines of a classic French farce than Bergman’s sexual romp but it all leads toward a climax that really does verge quite deeply into the dark cynicism that marks Bergman’s 1960s dark dramas. You could also call “The Rules of the Game” a tragedy in the way it winds up, but you will laugh before you get to that noirish atmosphere.

I Married a Witch

Yes, standard Hollywood fare does make it into the Criterion Collection. If you have ever seen “L.A. Confidential” and didn’t laugh when Russell Crowe tells Kim Basinger she looks better than Veronica Lake, you will next time you watch it after seeing “I Married a Witch.” It’s tough for an actress to be both very funny and very sexy and those having trouble need look no further than this movie and Veronica Lake. The comedy would much later inspire the TV show “Bewitched.”

Jaime
Jaime London is a writer, contributor, editor and a photographer. He started his career as an editorial assistant in a publishing company in Chicago in 2009.