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Movie fanatics living in the digital age constantly are looking for cutting-edge ways to acquire more films. DVDs are virtually obsolete. Netflix is an adequate but flawed delivery system. These days, even casual fans will tell you they use strategically placed Redbox outlets to grab a movie for $1. Convenience remains the key.
But the introduction of the massive Internet Archive might change how you view (and collect) movies. The video vault, according to a counter at the top of its home page, currently offers 1.3 million torrent files for download using BitTorrent. The files range from movies to books, concerts to historical news broadcasts. Want to hear the audio of the Hindenberg Crash? Stream a Grateful Dead concert from 1977? Or catch up on the long-lost television movie Rescue from Gilligan’s Island? The Internet Archive has you covered.
Granted, you won’t find Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on here. The nonprofit service seems to specialize in the obscure and the old, establishing itself as an archive for “researchers, historians and scholars,” according to their site. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 thriller Blackmail (pictured above) -- considered the first British “talkie” – can be downloaded on the site, for example. The Avengers, however, will not be made available. The hook of the service is that it’s all totally legal (because the titles exist in the public domain) … and all totally free.
The Archive is only expected to grow. The site’s maintainers encourage people to upload content to the servers (so long as it is part of the public domain), so bookmark the URL and check back often. As we move beyond physical discs and place digital content on “clouds,” expect to see more online services like this. We didn’t tear down all of our big-box Blockbuster stores for nothing, you know?