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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DVD Review: The Brothers Warner

The Brother Warner - A Warner Home Video Release

A Warner Sisters Production



DVD Release Date: March 9th, 2010

Rated PG

Running time: 94 minutes

Cass Warner Sperling (dir./writer)

Kate Amend A.C.E (editor)

Stephen Malik (co-editior)

Arlene Donnelly Johnson (dir. of photography)

David Campbell (music)

Our reviews below:


The Brothers Warner Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is the untold story of the bond and betrayal between the four brothers that started Warner Bros. Pictures. Though interesting, this film more has the feel of an added bonus on a DVD collection, rather than a standalone feature.

It will draw some comparisons to The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story, but as a movie, is nowhere near as good as that excellent documentary. With The Boys, something truly special was brought to the screen, here, with The Brothers Warner, the feel is pretty cut-and-dry documentary.

The DVD includes no bonus features.


The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of four)

As illustrated by director Cass Warner Sperling at the beginning of this film, when you ask people about who the actual Warner brothers are, most can’t tell you, and some aren’t even sure there really was a group of brothers. This documentary clears that up, telling the interesting story of the making of a company and the rivalries between siblings that came with it.

Unlike The Boys, about the Sherman brothers, The Brothers Warner doesn’t pack the same emotion, due in part to the fact that it is slightly further removed. The Boys was made by one son from each brother, and the brothers were featured themselves in the film, while The Brothers Warner was made by the granddaughter of one of the brothers, and only can feature the brothers in old footage.

Still, this is an interesting documentary that for those looking to know the history, and social roots of Warner Bros. Studios, is a really well made documentary. Feeling like something you’d see on TV, a shorter 60 minute cut of the film has aired on PBS. It’s definitely worth checking this one out.


The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is an interesting family portrait of one famous family. This documentary tells the rags to riches story of the Warner Broters, Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack. Cass Warner Sperling, Harry's granddaughter, retells how the brothers revolutionized film, by mainstreaming "talkies" (films with sound), and creating social commentary films. While not as personal a documentary as The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story, The Brothers Warner is a decent film that is worth checking out.


The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The Warner Brothers label is familiar to many people. What most people don't know is the story behind the Warner Brothers studio. The Brothers Warner is an interesting documentary by Cass Warner Sperling. As the granddaughter of one of the founders, Harry Warner, Sperling provides an inside look at the origins of the Warner Brothers studio. Told through black and white archival photos and footage and many interviews the documentary reveals the evolution of the relationship between the four brothers. Those interested in film history will want to check this one out.


The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is a fine documentary on the four sons of Polish Jewish immigrants who went from a storefront theatre with a used projector, a screen made from a hanging sheet and chairs borrowed from an undertaker to build one of the greatest Hollywood studios. As in all families, they each had different strengths, which they used to their advantage. The eldest Harry was the strong head, “gentle giant” Albert was a loyal executive mediating between Harry and the gregarious but volatile Jack. It was Sam’s technical expertise which helped them build out the studio and theatre chain to support it, and produce the first sound film The Jazz Singer at considerable risk, before he died tragically young in 1931.

Produced by Cass Warner Sperling, the maternal granddaughter of Harry, with extensive interviews from her mother and other family members as well as various industry personalities, it puts Harry in a particularly good light, largely to counteract the revisionist memoirs of the last surviving brother Jack who never lost an opportunity to take credit for everything. From extensive archival footage going back over a century we are given an excellent overview of the history of American film and the impact the Warners had on it. For example, besides bringing in sound, which met fierce resistance from rival studios, they were the first studio to boycott the lucrative German market in the 1930s as Hitler rose to power, and were known for films of social conscience and many of the best film noir titles.


Consensus: The Brothers Warner is an interesting documentary for those wanting to know more about the beginning of the famous studio. *** (Out of 4)

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