Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Filmmaking > Industry > The Brothers Warner (2008/Documentary/Warner Bros. DVD)

The Brothers Warner (2008/Documentary/Warner Bros. DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Documentary: B



The greatest early stories of the rise of Hollywood become more distant every day, yet deserve to be heard.  Even that of the family behind Warner Bros. Studios has been lost in the shuffle for too long.  Cass Warner Sperling has created a solid, must-see documentary called The Brothers Warner (2008) finally making its way to DVD so everyone can find out the amazing story on how one of the biggest movies studios ever built got that way.


A family business from the outset, the family was originally involved in other endeavors and trying to get by, maybe finding a way to make a fortune and stickling together… at least at first.  Albert, Jack, Harry and Sam were the four brothers who would eventually form the studio which began when two of them saw a silent film for the first time and kept rewatching it until they were thrown out of the theater.  They agreed that night to get into the business and when one of them picked up an old Edison 35mm projector with a copy of The Great Train Robbery (1903) in it, they opened their first movie theater in New Castle, PA.


From there, they found they could not get enough product to fill the projector, so they decided to get into producing films never imagining what would follow.  They hung in there while larger studios like Triangle, MGM and Paramount reigned during the silent era, then when one of them discovered the Vitaphone system for sound hey bet the house on it.  Even when the wife of one of the brothers who worked at Paramount insist they cash the system in with that studio, the family intervened and cinema history was changed forever when they hired Al Jolson to make The Jazz Singer (1927, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and they became the next major movie studio.  They have been a major ever since.


But this is more than just about film history, it is about people, the American Dream and the history of no less than the United States itself.  It shows that the heart and soul of the studio was by human beings and it is they who ultimately make the best films.  It also shows how ahead of their time the family was, a legacy to this day that has continued to make Warner more often than not the #1 studio in the world.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 image is a mix of new interviews and vintage footage that shows us as much as it can in its 94 minutes about a studio whose archives are one of the largest we will ever see.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is just fine with little audio trouble and its share of old monophonic archive audio.  There are no extras, but more than enough here in the main program to own the disc.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com