The Brothers Warner – DVD Review

When you think about Warner Bros., what comes to mind? Bugs Bunny? Casablanca? Blazing Saddles? Batman movies? Lethal Weapon? Ellen? The studio has been around for over 75 years and continues to entertain through film, TV, music, and multimedia. But how did the studio get its start? It all began with four brothers.

A fascinating and insightful look at the origins and evolution of one of the world’s most well-known movie studios, The Brothers Warner explores the lives of the four brothers whose name would become an indelible mark on the film world.

Directed and written by Cass Warner Sperling, granddaughter of Jack Warner, the documentary explores the personal lives of the men who made Warner Bros. such a popular and indelible name in Hollywood. They were one of the first West Coast studios, and the first to deliver a successful talkie (The Jazz Singer), to take a stand against the Nazis (they stopped distributing films to Germany after Hitler took power), and one of the first studios to deliver socially conscious films.

The primary goal of the Warner Brothers was three-fold: they wanted to use media to entertain, educate, and enlighten. And through their efforts and struggles they were able to do so. But this didn’t mean it was all smooth sailing.

As most of us know, anything worth doing comes with struggles, challenges, and heartache, and the Warner Bros. story is no different. Despite tragedy, threats, backstabbing, and betrayal, the studio and its founders endured and helped to make the WB and powerhouse in the motion picture industry.

Along with rarely seen family photos and home movies, the documentary also provides a number of candid interviews with past and present celebrities who had been around and worked with the Warners. Norman Lear, George Segal, Norman Lear, Dennis Hopper, Roy Disney, Jr., Sherry Lansing, Debbie Reynolds, are a few of the many celebs that you’ll see.

There are also interviews with film historians, former WB employees, and Warner family members who provide further inside knowledge about the four brothers whose name would become a mainstay in Hollywood and around the world.

Unfortunately, there are no special features. This is my only issue with the DVD. I would have liked to have seen extended interviews with the family, celebrities, employees, and film historians about the Warner Brothers and the films the made during their reign over the studio.

If you’re fascinated by the history of the film industry and want to learn about the creation of one of America’s most powerful and influential movie studios, I highly recommend The Brothers Warner. It does exactly what the Warner Brothers set out to do decades ago: entertain, educate, and enlighten.