THE BROTHERS WARNER BOOK
Foreword by David Zaslav, President and CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery
This year, Warner Bros. celebrates its 100th anniversary. And as we embark on our second century with the studio now an integral part of Warner Bros. Discovery, we are more committed than ever to ensuring the company the Warner brothers — Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack — built continues to be viewed around the world as a symbol of high quality, creative risk-taking, and innovative and impactful storytelling.
Growing up in Brooklyn, every Saturday, my Dad would take me to the local movie theater— it was our thing, just the two of us. We would get popcorn and soda, the lights would go down, the movie would start, and it was like magic. I'll never forget staring up at the big screen and seeing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, and Steve McQueen in Bullitt. I was completely captivated by the stories and characters and could not get enough of them. These and so many other great films I fell in love with over the years had one thing in common: the "WB" shield.
Not only did the Warner brothers revolutionize the motion picture business with the introduction of talkies in the 1920s, they also had the guts to tell stories that shed light on important issues of the day. And that took real courage, given the widespread resistance—and even prohibition—in Hollywood of the production of any films that took a critical view of sensitive topics such as Nazism and anti-Semitism. The brothers faced stiff pressure from both U.S. and foreign government leaders, activist organizations, industry elites, and others. Yet, they remained firm in their determination to use the platform of film to raise awareness of global injustices.
Having witnessed their own family escape oppression in Poland, the brothers understood the dangers of allowing such divisive and destructive forces to go unchecked, and they also recognized the power of motion pictures to change how people see others and the world. As they saw it, they had an opportunity as well as a responsibility to make a difference, and they did exactly that.
THE BROTHERS WARNER is a legendary Hollywood family’s rags-to-riches tale told in cinematic-style by using personal recollections, and lots of never-before-seen photos, as well as the voices of family members and former Warner Bros. associates—transporting readers into the brothers' lives.
It is the definitive biography of four pioneering brothers who built an empire on a dream and revolutionized Hollywood. They transformed their vision from a 100-seat Nickelodeon theatre into a giant of the film entertainment industry, which lives on today. As told by Harry Warner’s granddaughter, Cass Warner Sperling, the story of the Warner brothers is both an intimate biography and a look at film history during its formative years. It chronicles their pioneering efforts and innovations as they produced the first feature film with synchronized sound, created socially conscious films and much more. It reveals highlights of their journey as well as takes an inside, personal look at the details of the brothers’ expertise, their relationships, Hollywood history, and what caused the end of their family run dynasty.
"Even in a town where fact often reads like lurid fiction, the Warner story remains special#It is fascinating, with moments equally of revelation and melancholy." "Even in a town where fact often reads like lurid fiction, the Warner story remains special#It is fascinating, with moments equally of revelation and melancholy."
~Charles Champlin, American film critic and writer
"...good interest to students of Hollywood history."
"Even though I spent seven years at the studio writing "Casablanca," Sergeant York," and others, I learned things from this book I didn't know and never suspected."
~Howard Koch, screenwriter
Finally, a book about the Warner's telling the fabulous story from the perspective of Harry Warner, the original, "brains behind the organization." Written from a very personal viewpoint by Harry's granddaughter, I was entranced page after page with details about the origin of the studio, the relationship of the brothers, and the outstanding product the studio produced. Add in a salty quip from Bette Davis, a visit to Jack Warner's Angelo Drive manse and of course, a discussion of the gangster movies the studio made famous, and you have a recipe for a great read!
~Jeffrey H. Johns
Very entertaining...much like a Warner Brothers' film. Essentially a family member's truthful retelling of the Brothers' fascinating story. This an interesting family history of the Warner family. There are enough warts and peccadilloes revealed to bring the brothers and their mogul era to life.
I used this book as a source for a research paper. It was written beautifully. It was a very intimate look into the lIves of the Warner Brothers and those around them.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I love classic cinema, and it's nice to have the point of view of a family member. It's a really great story of American Immigrants to success, the story of an American family triumphing over hardships and working together.