7.4/10
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7 user 13 critic

The Brothers Warner (2007)

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.

Director:

Cass Warner (as Cass Warner Sperling)

Writer:

Cass Warner (as Cass Warner Sperling)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Hopper ... Himself - Actor
Cass Warner ... Herself, Harry Warner's granddaughter, also narrator (as Cass Warner Sperling)
Bette-Ann Warner Bette-Ann Warner ... Herself (voice)
Harry M. Warner ... Himself (archive footage) (as Harry Warner)
Tab Hunter ... Himself
Norman Lear ... Himself - Producer
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Himself
Leo Braudy Leo Braudy ... Himself, film historian, University of Southern California
Nancy Snow Nancy Snow ... Herself , author and professor
Steven J. Ross Steven J. Ross ... Himself, history professor, University of Southern California (as Steven Ross)
Samuel Goldwyn Jr. ... Himself (as Sam Goldwyn Jr.)
Benjamin Warner Benjamin Warner ... Himself (archive footage)
Betty Warner Sheinbaum Betty Warner Sheinbaum ... Herself, Harry Warner's daughter
Michael Birdwell Michael Birdwell ... Himself, historian
John Steel John Steel ... Himself, Albert Warner's grandson
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Storyline

Intimate portraits of brothers Albert Warner, Harry M. Warner, Jack L. Warner, and Sam Warner, the siblings who were close knit at the time of Warner Bros. Studios founding, but who later became estranged. This film, written and directed by Harry's granddaughter Cass, traces them from their humble, immigrant beginnings, to their breakthrough achievements, and their continuing imprint on American culture. This historic view of a family, and Hollywood's golden years offers invaluable and rare still photographs, classic film footage, and private access to relatives, friends, employees, and historians. Written by trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les frères Warner See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color | Black and White (film clips and archive photographs)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Betty Warner Sheinbaum is credited two different ways on screen, first as "Mother of Cass," and second as "Harry's daughter." See more »

Goofs

Cass Warner Sperling's commentary states that the 1927 film "The Jazz Singer," starring Al Jolson, grossed more than any movie made to that time and remained the all-time box-office champ until the release of "Gone With the Wind." It was actually Jolson's next film, "The Singing Fool," that set the box-office record that lasted until "Gone With the Wind." See more »

Connections

Features The Public Enemy (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Peanuts: A Nutty Rag
Written by Ethel May Earnist
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just the sort of film I like...but unfortunately a bit too short.
20 March 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This documentary is about the Warner Brothers and their studio. However, unlike other documentaries about film studios, this was more like a home movie in many ways--with one of the granddaughters of the original Warner Brothers narrating and talking with some family members about their recollections (in addition to all the film historians who comment). This gives it a rather intimate feel but also made you wonder how objective the production was. For example, I often find that autobiographies are FAR less interesting than biographies because they tend to tell the tale from a far from neutral point of view. Now I am NOT saying this film does this exactly. There is quite a bit of dirt in the film about the animosity between Jack and Harry--making Harry sound like a swell guy and Jack akin to Satan. But I did wonder about the film at times--especially concerning Harry Warner's adoption of his niece, Lina. What would a neutral party say about all this?

There were a lot of neat facts about the studio. I loved learning how the KKK sued Warner for their depiction in "Black Legion"! Or, how the studio was the first to refuse to sell movies in Germany and made the first anti-Nazi film from Hollywood--even when the nation was firmly in the isolationist camp. Interestingly, the film really didn't focus so much on the stars of the day--but more on the day to day behind the scenes events. I liked this, as if you want to see more about Cagney or Bette Davis, a documentary about them would make a lot more sense.

Overall, this is the sort of film that movie lovers like myself love--especially those who adore Hollywood during the classic years of the 1920s-40s. Fascinating--as it's filled with wonderful little stories and facts that film buffs will love. My only real problem with the film is that there is just too much material for a film that's just a bit over 90 minutes long. A mini-series would really due more justice to the history of this amazing studio.

Oddly, while the documentary was filled with a lot of film clips, some of them were of pretty poor quality--particularly the grainy and washed out one from "Giant". I am really not sure why this was the case.


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