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“The Brothers Warner”
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner
Release Date:
Special Features:



The Warner brothers deserve a documentary. They helped shape the young film business with the genre films they produced and created a behemoth that continues to roll over much of the competition today. Unfortunately THIS isn’t the documentary that will truly shed any light on these moguls in an era when those who controlled the studio actually had some power and could often be as much the “author” of the films from their studio as the talented people who made the films. Directed by Harry Warner’s granddaughter Cass Warner Sperling the film does touch on some of the controversies that often surrounded the Warner siblings but, for the most part, glosses over their flaws. This documentary touches on a fascinating time but is never fascinating or involving. *** That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have merit. Sperling touches on some of the issue orientated films that the Warner studios produced at the time such as “I Was a Fugitive From a Chain Gang” and “The Black Legion” that brought down the wrath of the KKK. ---

Image & Sound:

The quality of the newer footage is, of course, quite good but the footage from some of the older Warner cartoons and film clips don’t look very good at all—it’s like someone took the worst source material and decided to present it as crappy as possible. ***

Audio sounds quite good with dialogue very clear throughout. ---

Special Features:


Final Words:

There are some worthwhile moments in this documentary but the presentation and pacing is disappointing. The presentation itself is what you might expect from one of those fly-by-night home video companies using 16mm public domain footage. I’m really surprised that PBS chose to run this (it originally aired on their stations during pledge week) as it focuses too much on the soap opera elements of the Warner studios and NOT the importance of what the brothers, their other siblings and the studio contributed to the history of film.


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