The Brothers Warner (2007)

TV Movie   |  Not Rated   |    |  Documentary, Biography, History


The Brothers Warner (2007) Poster

An intimate portrait and saga of four film pioneers--Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack who rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience.

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7.4/10
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Director:

Cass Warner

Writer:

Cass Warner

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18 November 2009 | dromasca
8
| a family affair
Today the Warner name is just one component in a complicated corporate entanglement that the multimedia era made possible. One of the first and many things that we learn in this documentary is that the Warner Brothers film empire really started like a corner-of-the-street family affair, with the four sons of an East-European Jewish immigrant opening a cinema in Pennsylvania, with an blanket as improvised screen and borrowed chairs, with the wife of one of them playing the piano and nickel entry ticket price. Then when movies became hard to obtain the brothers decided to start making their own, and when the Edison monopoly chased them from the East Coast to California history began.

The four brothers built an empire American style, one of the most successful enterprises in one of the most successful American industry of the 20th century. Yet, their path was not smooth, their life was milestoned by happiness and tragedies as well, and they were no saints. Grand-daughter Cass Warner's film has both the qualities of bringing a lot of information backed-up by original film sequences, and of bringing a personal touch, with interviews of the members of the family, as well as important people in the industry, and film and communication experts. I appreciated the participation of descendants and representatives from the competitor studios like Disney or Paramount who did not hesitate to participate in this homage documentary. All parts are well dosed and the balanced mix takes us through six decades of movie making in parallel with the American history, actually part of the American history of the 20th century.

The documentary is informative, good, and human, and seldom falls into the trap of the blind adoration of its subject. The story of the brothers Warner and of Warner Brothers the corporation is the material for a great feature film, yet to be made in the future. With a bit of luck it will add a few Oscars near the Warner Brothers name.

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