The Brothers Warner
by Del Harvey
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The Brothers Warner is an incredible documentary of one of the most legendary families in showbiz. This is the inside story of the little known major player in the Warner Bros. studio legend, Harry Warner, honest Abe, visionary Sam, and volatile Jack – the original Hollywood independent filmmakers. This close-knit band of brothers was the first to use mass media to “educate, entertain, and enlighten”.
Their legendary scrappy rise from nothing, their overcoming of personal tragedies, and their battles are all woven together with the times they lived in. From opening their first storefront theater by hanging a sheet on the wall and borrowing chairs from a funeral parlor to creating one of the top studios in America – four brothers built an empire on a dream and revolutionized Hollywood creating the first major studio with a social conscience.
In this fascinating documentary, filmmaker (and Harry’s granddaughter) Cass Warner Sperling tells a story of sibling rivaly, social conscience and the silver screen. It’s a story of pioneering (risking it all for ‘The Talkies’), of politics (standing alone in Hollywood against the Nazi’s), of reels (The Public Enemy, Casablanca, and more), and of rifts (including a shocking family betrayal). It is a story told from inside the very Warner family via rare family archives by those family members and celebrities who lived it, including such stars as Dennis Hopper, Debbie Reynolds, Tab Hunter, and many more. Of course there are several noted film historians providing the historical perspective throughout this wonderful film which does a superb job of capturing the history of one of the most colorful and successful film families, The Brothers Warner.
Available on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 9, 2010. For more info or to visit the official site, click here.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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