I wasn’t among the very first to be able to watch online movies from Netflix, but I’ve been checking almost every day, and this morning the feature is enabled. The selection of movies is very limited, and playback requires Internet Explorer 6 or 7. Firefox isn’t supported, and movies can’t be downloaded.
So what did I pick as my first choice? The Angry Red Planet, from 1960. Why? Because it was directed by Ib Melchior, who wrote the story that became Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The movie is full of profound human insight; for example, the relative merits of girls over radiation risks, as heard here …
The video transfer of this movie appears to be, at best, 400×300 pixels blown up to 640×480. In other words, it’s lousy. There’s a full screen option, but the resolution doesn’t justify doing that. Because of the way the video is done I can’t get a screen capture without great difficulty, so I took a picture of it with the camera.
How red can an angry planet be, anyway?? For Robinson Crusoe on Mars, instead of Melchior’s simple red filter, Byron Haskin cleverly used the blue of the desert sky as if it were a blue screen, to easily and cheaply insert a red sky.
Netflix is off to a rather tentative start with their “Watch Now” feature. But I’m not going to knock it because it isn’t costing me extra, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction.