Amazons on Amazon

Amazon has begun offering a limited catalog of streaming movies  as a premium to Amazon Prime subscribers.  Chose the Amazon Instant Video -- it's the top entry on the search pull-down -- and select "Prime Eligible".

Naturally the stuff in the "free" catalog is uneven.  The brilliant "Bronson" plays opposite the unwatchably inane "Hudson Hawk".

Quality of transfers appears good for recent films ("Helvetica") and dreadful B-movie transfers have charmingly preserved all their dust and scratches ("War Goddess", originally "Le guerriere dal seno nudo").  Transmission was clear and jitter-free, with few "jaggies" or other compression artifacts.  Quality, even for junk, appears better than the crummy viewing delivered through Netflix's Starz Play.

One huge bonus: since Amazon owns IMDB, movie details and background info are far better than Netflix.

So, what's out there? Amazon's streaming service holds about 35,000+ movies and 6,200+ television programs.  "Prime Eligible" winnows that down to 1,700+ films and 480+ shows.  The Prime catalog is great is you want to see

  • Dr. Who,
  • Classic oaters starring Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, et al,
  • WW II action flix,
  • Mr. Rodgers (nattily raising one sweater-clad limb in a stiff-arm salute), and
  • apparently every cheesy "Hercules" movie ever made starring Richard Harrison, Gordon Mitchell and Yes! Ahhhnold Schwarzenegger in "Hercules in New York".

Choices abound, cable cutters. Go forth and graze.  To reiterate Joe Queenan's Sandra Bullock rule, if it's under $2, we'll take a look.