Instant Classics: August

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in August.

New This Month

The Mummy (1932) August 1
When British archaeologists uncover the ancient sarcophagus of a mummified Egyptian priest (Boris Karloff), they foolishly ignore its warning not to open the box, and the mummy is brought back to life. Taking the form of a modern Egyptian, he quickly begins his quest to resurrect the soul of his love, which he believes has been reincarnated in a modern woman (Zita Johann). Noted German cinematographer Karl Freund makes his directing debut.

Dead End (1937) August 1
This classic Hollywood drama set in a Manhattan slum in the 1930s stars Humphrey Bogart as gangster Baby Face Martin, who returns to his old neighborhood, is spurned by his mother (Marjorie Main) and becomes a bad influence on the neighborhood kids. Working from a script penned by Lillian Hellman, William Wyler directs this adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s hit Broadway play. Claire Trevor, Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea co-star.

Monkey Business (1952) August 1
Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers make a delicious screwball comedy team in this caper directed by Howard Hawks. Grant’s a middle-aged fuddy-duddy who may have invented a fountain of youth serum in his laboratory. But when a rampaging chimp mixes it into the water cooler, Grant and wife Rogers regress to their childhood. Marilyn Monroe is also a scream as the dim-bulb secretary to Charles Coburn.

We’re Not Married (1952) August 1
Five couples find out they’re not legally married. Annabel (Marilyn Monroe) hurries to end her marriage to Jeff (David Wayne); the Gladwyns (Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers) host a radio show and use their marriage for ratings; Eve (Zsa Zsa Gabor) is out for her husband’s (Louis Calhern) cash; the Woodruffs (Eve Arden and Paul Douglas) are bored with their union; and Willie (Eddie Bracken) must remarry pregnant Patsy (Mitzi Gaynor).

The Dirty Dozen (1967) August 1
In this Academy Award-winning World War II action flick from director Robert Aldrich (The Longest Yard), a U.S. Army major (Lee Marvin) is handed a near-impossible assignment: Turn a group of conscripted convicts into a crack fighting unit and then send them on a mission to destroy a villa filled with Nazi brass. The “volunteers” include Archer J. Maggott (Telly Savalas), Victor Franko (John Cassavetes) and Vernon L. Pinkley (Donald Sutherland).

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) August 1
Director Billy Wilder uses incidents from his own life in exploring the mystery of Sherlock Holmes’s sexual preference and past romances. Holmes (Robert Stephens) shoots cocaine to combat the boredom that plagues him between cases. But his ennui evaporates when he attends a Russian ballet performance where the prima ballerina asks Holmes to become the father of her child. The film portrays Holmes as a very complicated and flawed individual.

Airport 1975 (1974) August 1
When a Boeing 747 loses its pilots in a midair collision, lead flight attendant Nancy (Karen Black) is forced to take over its controls. As passengers grow frantic, flight instructor Alan (Charlton Heston) coaches Nancy by radio, helping her avoid the grave dangers looming ahead. Co-starring George Kennedy, Gloria Swanson and Linda Blair, this over-the-top disaster movie inspired the hilarious spoof Airplane!

The World’s Greatest Lover (1977) August 1
After winning a national talent search launched by a studio mogul (Dom DeLuise) to find the next Rudolph Valentino, Wisconsin baker Rudy Valentine (Gene Wilder) and his wife, Annie (Carol Kane), find themselves in the Hollywood spotlight. But when the out-of-towners cross paths with the real Latin Lover, who promptly falls for Annie’s charms, Rudy aims to win back his better half by donning a disguise and seducing her.

The Electric Horseman (1979) August 1
Former rodeo champion (and current alcoholic) Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) feels he’s hit rock bottom when he starts shilling for a breakfast-cereal company. That’s why, during an advertising stunt at a Las Vegas hotel, Steele rides off the stage and into the desert on a valuable but mistreated horse. Intrigued by the story, TV reporter Hallie Martin (Jane Fonda) goes after him in this Oscar-nominated comedic drama directed by Sydney Pollack.

Author! Author! (1982) August 1
A playwright’s work is never done, especially when it’s Ivan Travalian (Al Pacino), a down-on-his-luck scribe who desperately needs a hit. But before he can attend to his flailing career, he must deal with the unraveling threads of his life. His wife (Tuesday Weld) has deserted their home, leaving her children and his son from a previous marriage. And though love may be in the offing in the form of an actress (Dyan Cannon), nothing comes easy.

Expiring This Month

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) August 3
Set in the Ozarks during the Depression era, this film adaptation of Wilson Rawls’s heartwarming novel tells of Billy Coleman (Stewart Peterson), a poor but inspired boy who works tirelessly to buy and train two competitive hunting dogs. Together with his coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, Billy faces adventure, triumph and tragedy — and ultimately learns about love, loyalty and friendship — as he strives to realize his dream.

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) August 3
Gena Rowlands delivers an emotionally wrenching, Oscar-nominated performance as Mabel, an anxious housewife whose life revolves around waiting for her children to return from school and her husband, Nick (Peter Falk), to return from work. Mabel’s isolation eventually leads to a nervous breakdown that lands her in a mental hospital, while Nick struggles to keep their family intact, in this award-winning drama from director John Cassavetes.

Opening Night (1977) August 3
In one of John Cassavetes’s most acclaimed films, the director’s favorite leading lady, Gena Rowlands, plays a stage star heading for a breakdown just as her latest show is about to open. When a fan she dismissed is killed in a car accident, the actress begins to lose her grip — on both her stage persona and her real one. Ben Gazzara, another regular, plays the theatrical director, and Cassavetes cast himself as the male lead in the play.

The Battle of Midway (1942) August 6
Acclaimed director John Ford shot this 1943 Oscar-winning documentary while serving in World War II. Narrated by actors including Henry Fonda, Ford’s film captures Japanese fighter planes attacking the U.S. outpost. Ford keeps the film rolling during the intense battle, even as he’s injured (he was later awarded the Purple Heart). A dramatic scene captures marines raising the American flag in victory — an historic moment in U.S. history.

The Sugarland Express (1974) August 11
Steven Spielberg’s debut film stars Goldie Hawn and William Atherton as Lou-Jean and Clovis Poplin, a down-on-their-luck couple who lose their child to the state of Texas and decide to pull out all stops to get him back. Lou-Jean pops Clovis out of jail and the two make off with their son, taking him away from his foster parents. But the long arm of the law isn’t too far behind, especially since the couple’s holding a cop hostage.

Black Christmas (1975) August 14
Terror reigns inside a sorority house a few days before Christmas break as a series of menacing phone calls — and the discovery of a dead girl’s body — transform yuletide cheer into fear. Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and Andrea Martin (“SCTV”) co-star as just a few of the petrified sisters at the mercy of an unseen stalker in this 1970s horror gem from director Robert Clark, who told a much happier holiday tale with his 1983 classic A Christmas Story.

Reaching for the Moon (1931) August 21
Following the advice of his helpful valet (Edward Everett Horton), a socially awkward businessman (Douglas Fairbanks) strives to hone his romantic skills as he follows a beautiful aviator (Bebe Daniels) aboard a luxurious ocean liner. This classic art deco musical boasts elaborate sets and costumes and includes a memorable rendition of Irving Berlin’s “When the Folks High Up, Do the Mean Low Down?” sung by a not-yet-discovered Bing Crosby.

Angel on My Shoulder (1946) August 21
A cold-hearted gangster named Eddie (Paul Muni) is betrayed by his comrades and gets sent straight to hell, where he strikes a deal with “Nick” the Devil (Claude Rains). If he returns to Earth to impersonate an honorable judge, he’ll also get to take revenge on his enemies. But once he’s there, Eddie finds that making good decisions — and making love to the judge’s fiancée (Anne Baxter) — comes all too easily.

Scarface (1932) August 30
Mobster Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) seizes control of Chicago’s bootlegging racket in this classic crime drama, which also stars George Raft, Boris Karloff and Osgood Perkins (Anthony Perkins’ father). From director Howard Hawks and producer Howard Hughes, Scarface sets the benchmark for future gangster films. Karen Morley portrays Camonte’s love interest and Ann Dvorak the gangster’s beloved sister.

The Hot Rock (1972) August 30
Robert Redford stars as jewel thief and ex-con John Dortmunder, who’s hired to pinch a priceless African sparkler from a New York City museum in this Oscar-nominated caper comedy. To help pull off the elaborate heist, Dortmunder drafts a safecracker (George Segal), a wheelman (Rob Leibman) and an explosives expert (Paul Sand), but the job snowballs after a string of missteps and mishaps. Zero Mostel shines in a supporting role as a slimy lawyer.

Instant Classics: July

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in July.

New This Month

The Saga of Gosta Berling (1924) July 1
Following one man’s journey to salvation, this compelling silent drama focuses on defrocked country clergyman Gösta Berling (Lars Hanson), whose alcoholism costs him his parish. But after he moves in with beautiful Elizabeth Dohna (played superbly by Greta Garbo), she becomes the instrument of Berling’s redemption. Heralded as “a summary and a swan song” of Swedish cinema, director Mauritz Stiller’s moving film made Garbo a star.

It (1927) July 1
This 1927 silent film features Clara Bow as Betty Lou, a sweet and sassy clerk at a department store who decides she has found Mr. Right when she meets the store’s owner (Antonio Moreno). One thing: She must convince him that she’s Ms. Right, too. As Betty Lou strives to catch his attention, she also tries to help her roommate, who has recently become a mother. This classic silver-screen tale is inspired by a short story written by Elinor Glyn.

There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954) July 1
Irving Berlin provides the tunes for this engaging musical about the singing and dancing Donahue clan as they ascend to stardom on the vaudeville circuit during the genre’s last hurrah. The superb cast includes Ethel Merman, Donald O’Connor, Mitzi Gaynor and Marilyn Monroe. With splashy production numbers, Merman belting out the title song and Monroe’s sultry version of “Heat Wave,” this musical extravaganza bubbles over with sparkling style.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) July 1
Based on an Agatha Christie play, this Oscar-nominated mystery directed and co-written by Billy Wilder concerns an esteemed and aging lawyer (Charles Laughton). On the eve of retiring, he takes on the defense of an alleged murderer (Tyrone Power, in his final film performance) accused of killing a wealthy widow. Things get complicated when the accused’s only alibi, his wife (Marlene Dietrich), decides to testify for the prosecution.

The Fly (1958) July 1
Scientist André Delambre (David Hedison) has invented a matter transporter. To perfect his machine, he decides to test the device on a human subject — himself. He steps into the chamber unaware that an ordinary housefly has accompanied him. His head and arm become horrifically switched with those of the fly. Now Delambre and his wife (Patricia Owens) are faced with a gruesome dilemma in this classic sci-fi horror co-starring Vincent Price.

Sex and the Single Girl (1964) July 1
Natalie Wood stars as Helen Gurley Brown in this farce loosely based on Brown’s book of the same name. Trying to land an interview with the noted psychologist, unscrupulous journalist Bob Weston (Tony Curtis) poses as a man seeking therapy for marital troubles. The two fall in love, but when Weston’s charade is nearly exposed, he must resort to ever-more-desperate trickery to avoid revealing his true identity. Lauren Bacall co-stars.

The Omega Man (1971) July 1
Charlton Heston plays Robert Neville, one of the last “intact” survivors of a biological war that’s ravaged Earth’s population in this Boris Sagal-helmed sci-fi thriller based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend. Armed with an experimental vaccine for the disease that’s turned everyone into light-averse zombies, Neville roams the empty streets of Los Angeles by day and fights off the mutated “subnormals” at night.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) July 1
Devil-worshipping hippies revive Dracula (Christopher Lee) in this groovy 1970s Hammer Studios horror flick set in London. Thinking Dracula’s one cool cat, Johnny (Christopher Neame) and his psychedelic gang resurrect the count. The powerful creature of the night awakens with a mission: to destroy his archnemesis Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing). It’s good vs. evil as Van Helsing faces Dracula in a thrilling final showdown.

The Exorcist (1973) July 1
When movie actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) begins to suspect that an evil spirit is possessing her young daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), she calls in two priests (Max von Sydow and Jason Miller) to try and exorcise the demon against frightening and formidable odds. Writer William Peter Blatty scored an Academy Award for his big-screen adaptation of his own novel; the film also won an Oscar for Best Sound.

Foxy Brown (1974) July 1
Smart and sexy black heroine Foxy Brown (Pam Grier) is one of the most popular icons of the 1970s, thanks to this blaxploitation flick oozing with sass and funky style. Gangsters murder Foxy’s government-agent boyfriend because her cokehead brother ratted him out. Now, on a kick-ass quest for revenge, she joins a high-class prostitution agency to get closer to the drug ring. There’s plenty of violence, plenty of nudity — but no mercy.

Expiring This Month

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) July 6
This notorious horror parody — a fast-paced potpourri of camp, sci-fi and rock ‘n’ roll, among other things — tracks the exploits of naïve couple Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) after they stumble upon the lair of transvestite vampire Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). The film — a bizarre musical co-starring Meat Loaf and Richard O’Brien — bombed in its initial release but later gained a cult following at midnight showings.

Indiscretion of an American Wife (1954) July 12
Producer David O. Selznick collaborated with Italian director Vittorio De Sica to make this complex character study. Jennifer Jones is an American wife on holiday in Rome; Montgomery Clift is her Italian lover. She bids him farewell at the train station, he begs her to stay. Their performances are the central appeal of the film, which is notorious for its troubled production history.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) July 22
Considered director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s finest achievement and one of the greatest movies of all time, this stunning emotional drama recounts the events surrounding Joan of Arc’s 1431 heresy trial, burning at the stake and subsequent martyrdom. The film’s original version, thought to have been lost to fire, was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981. Maria Falconetti turns in a haunting performance as the young French saint.

Pandora’s Box (1929) July 22
G.W. Pabst’s visually striking silent melodrama examines the plight of Lulu (Louise Brooks), a mesmerizing woman whose uninhibited sexuality leads to her downfall. After marrying her wealthy lover, Dr. Schon (Fritz Kortner), Lulu inadvertently shoots him during a struggle. She’s convicted of murder but escapes with Schon’s lovestruck son (Francis Lederer). Soon, their circumstances spiral downward, with tragic results.

M (1931) July 22
German-American director Fritz Lang presents his first “talkie” — and cinema’s first serial killer — in this 1931 classic whose central villain was later used in Nazi propaganda films to illustrate the evils of sexual deviance. Propelled by a compulsion he can’t control, plump pedophile Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) escapes the eye of the law — but not the wrath of the Berlin underworld being blamed for his crimes. Otto Wernicke co-stars.

The Rules of the Game (1939) July 22
When affluent Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio) hosts a party at his sprawling property, emotions run high. Guests include Robert’s mistress Genevieve (Mila Parely) and pilot Andre Jurieu (Roland Toutain), who fancies Robert’s wife, Christine (Nora Gregor). Meanwhile, Schumacher (Gaston Modot) is trying to keep Marceau (Julien Carette) from hitting on his wife (Paulette Dubost). All the while, the servants watch with great interest. Read my review here.

Ugetsu (1953) July 22
With 16th-century Japan’s feudal wars as a backdrop, director Kenji Mizoguchi’s lyrical masterpiece delivers a profound message about the ephemeral nature of human life. Despite the conflict raging around them, a potter (Masayuki Mori) and a farmer (Saka Ozawa) — two peasants with visions of grandeur — journey to the city seeking wealth and glory. But their blind ambition ultimately takes its toll… on the families they left behind.

Diabolique (1954) July 22
The ailing spouse (Véra Clouzot) and manhandled mistress (Simone Signoret) of a sadistic boarding school headmaster (Paul Meurisse) plan and execute the man’s murder — but their plan goes haywire when the corpse vanishes. Henri-Georges Clouzot directs his real-life wife in this icy, black-and-white masterwork of homicide and Grand Guignol suspense, which ranked No. 49 on the Bravo network’s “100 Scariest Movie Moments.”

The 400 Blows (1959) July 22
After young Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) runs away, life on the streets of Paris leads to nothing but trouble and guilt in this gritty feature film debut from legendary director François Truffaut. Though he turns to petty crime to survive, Antoine’s remorse often leads him to try to return things he’s stolen — with disastrous results. The film was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Beyond the Rocks (1922) July 28
Screen legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino star as a love-struck twosome in this silent melodrama. Yielding to family pressure, Theodora Fitzgerald (Swanson) weds an elderly millionaire (Robert Bolder) but falls for valorous Lord Bracondale (Valentino) while on her honeymoon. When Theodora’s new husband gets wind of her feelings for the noble aristocrat, will he seek reprisal or gallantly step aside?

Instant Classics: June

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in June.

New This Month

Born to Be Bad (1934) June 1
Letty (Loretta Young) is a young mother who has her son taken away from her after she’s determined an unfit mother. Malcolm Trevor (Cary Grant) and his wife Alice (Marion Burns) agree to take over guardianship of the boy, hoping to provide him with a stable home. Yearning to get her child back, Letty decides to seduce Malcolm — a task that proves more difficult than she had hoped.

The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949) June 1
When a shot intended for her philandering boyfriend accidentally hits a judge in the behind, a tough-talking saloon singer (pinup girl Betty Grable) is forced to hide out in a new town, where she poses as the local schoolteacher. Cesar Romero (who later became famous as the gaping Joker on TV’s “Batman”) also stars in this Wild West musical comedy directed by Preston Sturges.

House of Strangers (1949) June 1
After his illegal practices land corrupt banker Gino Monetti (Edward G. Robinson) in jail, three of his sons — Joe (Luther Adler), Pietro (Paul Valentine) and Tony (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) — ruthlessly take over the business. When a fourth son, Max (Richard Conte), vows to remain loyal to his father, the family is torn apart. Robinson copped the Best Actor award at Cannes for his role in this gritty drama directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The Desert Fox (1951) June 1
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (convincingly portrayed by James Mason) was known for his exploits in the Afrika Korps. This classic film, directed by Henry Hathaway, chronicles Rommel’s life — including his military career, his contribution to supposed attempts on Adolf Hitler’s life and his lonely demise. Jessica Tandy co-stars as Rommel’s wife.

A Farewell to Arms (1957) June 1
Adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s World War I novel, this drama centers on American soldier Lt. Frederick Henry (Rock Hudson). While serving in the Italian Army, Henry has an affair with nurse Catherine Barkley (Jennifer Jones), and she becomes pregnant. The two lose touch, and Catherine is certain Henry’s moved on to greener pastures. But he manages to track her down in Switzerland and arrives at her hospital bedside to find her clinging to life.

The Long, Hot Summer (1958) June 1
Director Martin Ritt combines two William Faulkner stories into a smoldering drama starring Paul Newman as Ben Quick, a wandering handyman who arrives in Frenchman’s Bend, Miss., where menacing rumors about his past begin to circulate. Soon enough, the self-made town despot (Orson Welles) warms to the drifter and takes him under his wing, giving him a job at his store and setting him up with his daughter (Joanne Woodward).

Sons and Lovers (1960) June 1
Based on D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Sons and Lovers tells the story of Paul Morel (Dean Stockwell), a miner’s (Trevor Howard) son who’s determined to become an artist. Morel relies on the financial generosity of his girlfriends, but his devotion to his mother (Wendy Hiller) prevents him from returning their love. Sons and Lovers received several Oscar nominations — including Best Picture and Director — and won a Best Cinematography Oscar.

The Hustler (1961) June 1
Paul Newman scores as pool shark “Fast Eddie” Felson, who tours the country hustling games — even challenging reigning champion Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) — in this brooding drama that explores the synergies between good and evil, love and desperation. The film won a pair of Oscars for its cinematography and art direction, while Newman and Gleason both earned Academy Award nominations for their performances. Piper Laurie co-stars.

A Hard Day’s Night (1964) June 1
The Beatles’ first movie — a groundbreaking comedy often considered director Richard Lester’s best film — chronicles a “typical” day in their lives, filled with frenzied fans, crazy relatives and a soundtrack of familiar songs. The film defined the Beatles’ impish appeal, and John, Paul, George and Ringo are surprisingly assured on-screen. Songs include “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “And I Love Her” and “I Should Have Known Better.”

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) June 1
Living in the small town of Rochefort, France, twin sisters Delphine and Solange Garnier (Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac) yearn for the romance of Paris. But when a charming pair of song-and-dance men (George Chakiris and Grover Dale) comes to town, the sisters get more than they ever dreamed. This effervescent film by acclaimed director Jacques Demy co-stars silver-screen legend Gene Kelly.

Expiring This Month

The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) June 6
While visiting London in 1911 to attend the crowning of King George V, a stuffy Carpathian nobleman (Laurence Olivier) surprisingly finds himself attracted to saucy American showgirl Elsie Marina (Marilyn Monroe) in this bright romantic comedy. But complications and political intrigue ensue as a plot to topple the Balkan throne comes to light. Sybil Thorndike shines as the off-her-trolley queen dowager.

Meet John Doe (1941) June 10
Sacked by her newspaper, spunky scribe Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) hatches a hoax to keep her job. In her final column, she pens a missive from “John Doe,” a fictitious hobo planning to leap to his death from city hall. When the letter triggers a public flap, the paper — looking to boost readership — cons a suitable stooge (Gary Cooper) into posing as Doe. Little does he know the paper’s owner plans to use him as a ticket to the presidency.

La Bête Humaine (1938) June 21
This classic film directed by the legendary Jean Renoir and based on the novel by Emile Zola stars Roubaud as Fernand Ledoux, a train station worker who, enraged that his wife, Severine (Simone Simon), has cuckolded him, forces her to help kill him. Roubaud’s co-worker, Jacques Lantier (Jean Gabin), knows the truth, having witnessed the gruesome events unfold, but all he wants to do is protect Severine because he wants her for himself.

Rashomon (1950) June 21
Considered one of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces, this Oscar-winning crime drama unfolds as four witnesses to a rape and murder report their versions of the attack, leaving the viewer to decide what really happened. But the chain of events depicted by the bandit (Toshiro Mifune), the rape victim (Machiko Kyo), the murdered man’s ghost (Masayuki Mori) and the woodcutter (Takashi Shimura) have more differences than similarities.

M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) June 21
Jacques Tati followed his acclaimed directorial debut Jour de Fête with this gently satirical comedy that introduced Tati’s alter ego, Monsieur Hulot. When Hulot spends a holiday at a seaside resort, he accidentally (but good-naturedly) wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Falling all over himself to impress a beautiful girl, Hulot inadvertently crashes a funeral, topples a priceless vase and ignites fireworks with his pipe — all to hilarious effect.

Summertime (1955) June 21
Dreams of romance for American spinster Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) become a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome but married antiques dealer (Rossano Brazzi) while vacationing in Venice, Italy. David Lean directed this sensitive portrait of an independent woman who finds that, even in a beautiful European city, her sense of loneliness is unavoidable, and her initial disgust with the idea of an illicit love affair doesn’t last.

Jules and Jim (1962) June 21
Writers Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) are close friends who fall in love with the same woman, the unpredictable Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), amid the turbulence of World War I Paris in one of director François Truffaut’s best-loved films, adapted from the novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. What results is a decades-long love triangle that both tests and strengthens the bond between the two men.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) June 22
Judy Garland stars as Esther Smith, who just can’t ignore the boy next door (Tom Drake), in director Vincente Minnelli’s musical masterpiece about the trials and tribulations of a tight-knit family living in St. Louis on the eve of the 1904 World’s Fair. Memorable characters and charming songs, which include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Trolley Song,” make this one of the greatest American musicals ever lensed.

Imitation of Life (1934) June 26
After taking in black housekeeper Delilah Johnson (Louise Beavers) and her light-skinned daughter (Fredi Washington), the white and widowed Bea Pullman (Claudette Colbert) makes a fortune in the pancake businesses, using Delilah’s recipe and likeness. But wealth has unexpected consequences for them all. John M. Stahl directs this black-and-white classic based on Fannie Hurst’s novel by the same name.

Cleopatra (1963) June 30
The winner of four Oscars, this epic saga of love, greed and betrayal stars Elizabeth Taylor as the passionate and ambitious Egyptian queen who’s determined to hold on to the throne and seduces the Roman emperor Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison). When Caesar is murdered, she redirects her attentions to his general, Marc Antony (Richard Burton), who vows to take power — but Caesar’s successor (Roddy McDowall) has other plans.

Instant Classics: May

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in May.

New This Month

Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) May 1
In the wake of a violent rape at the hands of her father’s assistant (Fritz Rasp), young Thymiane Henning (Louise Brooks) is left pregnant and emotionally drained. But when she refuses to marry her attacker, she’s sent away to a woman’s reformatory. With an unfair act deciding her fate, is respectability still within her reach — or is she destined to live on the fringe? German filmmaker G.W. Pabst directs this black-and-white silent classic.

The Invisible Man (1933) May 1
Scientist Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) terrorizes the British village of Ipping in this classic horror film. After a drug experiment gone awry, Griffin becomes invisible and must hide out in the local inn, his face completely bandaged. By the time Griffin confides in friends Dr. Kemp (William Harrigan) and Flora (Gloria Stuart), it’s too late — the drug has turned him into a homicidal maniac who must be hunted down.

Heaven Can Wait (1943) May 1
In this restored digital transfer of Ernst Lubitsch’s witty classic, newly deceased playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche) tries to convince Satan he’s got what it takes to be a citizen of hell. Unsatisfied that Van Cleve’s sins are hell-worthy, the devil listens as the dead man recounts his womanizing ways and the many heartbreaks he’s caused his loving wife (Gene Tierney). Extras include a biography of screenplay writer Samson Raphaelson.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) May 1
Two American showgirls in the mood for love board a luxury liner to Paris. Engaged to be married, fair-haired Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe) is unknowingly tracked by a private investigator who was hired by her future father-in-law. But the detective only has eyes for her brunette friend, Dorothy (Jane Russell). Based on the Broadway musical starring Carol Channing, the film features the memorable tune “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) May 1
This great fantasy movie for the whole family stars James Mason as the leader of an expedition to the center of the earth that includes Pat Boone (who even sings!) and even a prescient goose named Gertrude. Fraught with peril from careening boulders, falling stalactites and weird dinosaurs, the movie is beautifully photographed and boasts a top-flight musical score from Bernard Herrmann (Psycho). Based on the Jules Verne novel.

Harold and Maude (1971) May 1
Death-obsessed teen Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) is being hassled by his domineering mother (Vivian Pickles) to play the dating game, but he’d much rather attend funerals, which is where he meets the feisty Maude (Ruth Gordon), a geriatric widow who’s high on life. The seemingly mismatched pair forms a bond that turns into a highly unconventional — but ultimately satisfying – romance in this comical cult favorite from director Hal Ashby.

Double Indemnity (1944) May 6
Smitten insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) plots the perfect murder with femme fatale client Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck): staging her husband’s “accidental” death to collect double indemnity on his life insurance and absconding with the loot. But before their scheme can pay off, the lethal duo must first get past a crafty claims investigator (Edward G. Robinson) who senses something isn’t kosher.

Go West (1925) May 15
In this classic silent film, a downtrodden chap known as “Friendless” (Buster Keaton), having no luck in the big city, heads west, determined to succeed. His odyssey takes him to a ranch, where he builds a relationship with a neglected cow dubbed Brown Eyes. But he soon learns she’s on the way to a Los Angeles slaughterhouse. The sidesplitting climax finds Friendless — clad in a devil costume — trying to prevent a stampede through the city.

Faust (1926) May 15
German director F.W. Murnau cast the inimitable Emil Jannings as Mephisto, to whom the aging Faust sells his soul for renewed youth, wealth and power. Channeling Goethe, Murnau creates a phantasmagoric vision of the struggle between good and evil. In one of the most famous sequences in film history, we see Mephisto born as a primordial creature from the heavens and sent to the netherworld. This was Murnau’s last German film before moving to Hollywood.

The Blue Angel (1930) May 15
This finely crafted drama of despair from legendary filmmaker Josef von Sternberg follows brusque professor Rath (Emil Jannings), who’s determined to stop his pupils’ visits to hear speakeasy singer Lola (Marlene Dietrich). An obsession for the siren blossoms, and Rath’s life spirals out of control. It’s a classic story of the power of lust, love turned sour and the humiliation of one man forced to confront his deepest weakness.

Expiring This Month

The Return of Frank James (1940) May 16
Director Fritz Lang made his first foray into color with this gritty Western starring Henry Fonda as Frank James, who sets out to avenge the killing of his brother, Jesse. Accompanied by young sidekick Clem (portrayed by child star Jackie Cooper), Frank sacrifices his life of anonymity to hunt down Bob Ford (John Carradine), the backstabbing coward who murdered Jesse in exchange for a pardon. Gene Tierney makes her film bow as a nosy reporter.

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) May 26
Banished from Bagdad by evil wizard Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), blind Prince Ahmad (John Justin) teams with plucky boy-thief Abu (Sabu, in his signature role) to return to the royal palace, reclaim the throne and win the hand of a lovely princess (June Duprez). Also starring Rex Ingram as the wily genie, this rousing adventure classic — which chalked up three Oscars — remains one of cinema’s finest fantasies.

Children of Paradise (1945) May 26
Often considered the classic epic of French film, Children of Paradise is the tragic tale of vastly different men who all fall for the same woman (played by Arletty). This romantic saga takes place amid a theatrical community in 19th-century Paris, set against a backdrop of intrigue, duels and murder that allegorizes occupied France. Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur and María Casares co-star in this Oscar-nominated film for Best Original Screenplay.

Beauty and the Beast (1946) May 26
Lost in the woods, a hapless merchant is captured and held prisoner in the castle of a beastlike man (Jean Marais), who vows to kill the merchant unless he’s replaced by one of his daughters. The lovely Belle (Josette Day) gives herself up to save her father. But before long, she finds the beauty hiding inside her grotesque captor in this lyrical masterpiece, the most celebrated film of the French director and poet Jean Cocteau.

La Strada (1954) May 26
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese introduces this restored special edition of Italian auteur Federico Fellini’s powerful rumination on love and hate, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1956. The story follows the plight of gentle Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), who’s sold by her mother to a bullying circus performer (Anthony Quinn), only to have a clown (Richard Basehart) win her heart and ignite a doomed love triangle.

Mon Oncle (1958) May 26
Jacques Tati plays Monsieur Hulot, a self-absorbed chucklehead wrestling with neoteric gadgetry — and losing — in this satirical masterpiece that makes sport of mechanization, class distinctions and modernity. While visiting his sister’s surreal, ultra-trendy home, Hulot finds himself incessantly at odds with newfangled contraptions that get the better of him. The tongue-in-cheek French comedy garnered a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Black Orpheus (1959) May 26
This superb retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice Greek legend is set against Rio de Janeiro’s madness during Carnival. Orpheus (Breno Mello), a trolley car conductor, is engaged to Mira (Lourdes De Oliveira) but in love with Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn). A vengeful Mira and Eurydice’s ex-lover, costumed as Death, pursue Orpheus and his new paramour through the feverish Carnival night. Black Orpheus earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Eyes Without a Face (1959) May 26
A plastic surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) becomes obsessed with making things right after his daughter Christiane’s (Edith Scob) face is terribly disfigured in a car accident that he caused. Overcome with guilt, Dr. Genessier and his vicious nurse, Louise (Alida Valli), concoct a plan to give Christiane her face back by kidnapping young girls and removing their faces … and then grafting them onto Christiane’s.

Lord of the Flies (1963) May 26
Based on William Golding’s famous novel, Peter Brooks’s daring 1963 film follows schoolboys stranded on an island after a plane crash. Two factions quickly form between the boys — one being more civilized, concentrating on finding shelter and food, and the other more savage, hunting wild pigs and having fun. Tension builds between the factions’ leaders, Ralph and Jack, leading to a battle for control of their own micro-civilization.

Desk Set (1957) May 30
Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is a reference librarian whose tepid long-term relationship with television executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young) is fizzling. Enter Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), a no-nonsense computer genius who’s created a new product named Miss Emmy to automate the work of Bunny and her co-workers. The two butt heads in the beginning, but soon their disdain for one another turns to romantic sparks.

Instant Classics: April

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in April.

New This Month

Gone with the Wind (1939) Apr. 1
Director Victor Fleming’s 1939 epic adaption of Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name stars Vivien Leigh as self-absorbed, headstrong Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern Belle who meets her match in Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) just as the Civil War breaks out. Living on a large cotton plantation called Tara in rural Georgia in 1861, Scarlett sees her beloved home and life as she knows it go up in flames — but will her true love be lost too?

Made for Each Other (1939) Apr. 1
Charming singles Jane (Carole Lombard) and John (James Stewart) enthusiastically fall in love, get hitched and have a baby. But soon enough, harsh realities — including meddling in-laws, money problems and a family illness — intrude on the couple’s dream of living happily ever after. While the floundering lovebirds may be meant for each other, they’ll have to work together to weather life’s ups and downs.

Pinky (1949) Apr. 1
Elia Kazan’s anti-racist drama centers on a light-skinned black woman trying to fit into society. When her white boyfriend proposes, Patricia “Pinky” Johnson (Jeanne Crain) fears that he can’t handle an interracial marriage and leaves him. She returns to her Southern childhood home, where her grandma (Ethel Waters) cares for rich Miss Em (Ethel Barrymore). When Miss Em wills her estate to Pinky, the young woman must endure a painful legal battle.

All About Eve (1950) Apr. 1
Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s sharp script anchors this story about New York City theater life, with Bette Davis playing an aging Broadway diva who employs a starstruck fan (Anne Baxter) as her assistant, only to learn the woman is a conniving upstart. The now-classic All About Eve won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Mankiewicz), Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders).

Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) Apr. 1
After Lyn (Anne Bancroft) dumps him, Jed (Richard Widmark) sulks until he spots gorgeous Nell Forbes (Marilyn Monroe), who recently moved to New York City. But Jed soon realizes that Nell harbors a dark past when her mental instability becomes apparent. While she babysits the daughter (Donna Corcoran) of Ruth (Lurene Tuttle) and Peter (Jim Backus), Nell’s sad truth can’t be hidden — not even by her Uncle Eddie (Elisha Cook Jr.).

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) Apr. 1
In this classic comedy, three New York models (Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall) set up an apartment with a mission: They plan to use their looks, charm and talent to catch and marry a trio of millionaires. The gold-digging dames’ outrageous man-hunting scheme does attract wealthy candidates, but, love and money don’t appear to coexist; all three women must choose between the extremes.

The Graduate (1967) Apr. 1
Dustin Hoffman (in his first major film role) turns in a landmark performance as a naïve college graduate who is seduced by a middle-aged neighbor (Anne Bancroft) but ends up falling in love with her beautiful, young daughter (Katharine Ross). Mike Nichols won a Best Director Oscar for this 1960s classic, which boasts an immortal score from Simon and Garfunkel that includes the iconic “Mrs. Robinson.”

Hello, Dolly! (1969) Apr. 1
Composer Jerry Herman’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical was adapted for the big screen in an outsize production featuring Barbra Streisand as matchmaker Dolly Levi, a role originated on stage by a much-older Carol Channing. When wealthy merchant Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) hires Dolly to find a mate for him, she decides to win him over for herself. Songs include “Before the Parade Passes By” and the glorious title tune.

Expiring This Month

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) Apr. 3
Seasoned criminal Doctor Mabuse (Rudolf Klein Rogge) has been locked in an asylum for the past 10 years, straddling the line between life and death. One of his last projects involves a mysterious manifesto that sets in place a crime-filled future. Discovering that the creepy article’s text seems to predict disturbing events, detective Lohmann (Otto Wernicke) tries to put together the pieces of this mind-bending case.

That Hamilton Woman (1941) Apr. 3
Married actors Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh star in this story of a tragic love affair. When young Emma Hart (Leigh) marries much older Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mowbray), the British ambassador to the court of Naples, it’s an excellent match for her. But a few years later, she meets naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson (Olivier), and the two fall madly in love. That Hamilton Woman earned several Oscar nominations and won for Best Sound.

Breathless (1960) Apr. 3
After shooting a cop, young thief Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) meets and shacks up with Patricia (Jean Seberg), an American who sells the International Herald Tribune on the streets of Paris. Hiding out in her hotel room, Michel tries to talk Patricia into going with him to Italy. But she doesn’t know that would include a foray into criminal life. Director Jean-Luc Godard shot to cinematic stardom with this benchmark film of the French new wave.

Gojira (1954) Apr. 6
A 400-foot dinosaur springs to life in the wake of heavy nuclear weapons testing over the Pacific Ocean, and before long, the fire-breathing Gojira (aka Godzilla) makes a beeline for an unsuspecting Tokyo. This classic 1950s film is the original Japanese version of Godzilla. Fans of the giant lizard will enjoy the bonus features, which include the original U.S. theatrical release Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), starring Raymond Burr.