Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers

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Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 150 x 230mm
  • United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • Ill.
  • 0245543163
  • 9780245543166

Review Text

There are no surprises or fresh insights in this rudimentary Warner Bros. rundown - which inevitably focuses almost entirely on Jack (whose story is familiar to movie-book buffs) and which often slides into rehashed star-by-star, film-by-film history. Freedland (Maurice Chevalier, Jerome Kern, etc.) sketches in the now-legendary Warner beginnings, from immigrant arrival to nickelodeon travels and early filmmaking. He emphasizes the lifelong rivalry between straitlaced, money-wise Harry and the impetuous, much-younger Jack. To well-read, soon-dead brother Sam, he gives (in a typical simplification) sole credit for the evolution of talkies. The later decades are largely devoted to the wrangles between Jack (often displaying "devout cowardice") and his stars: Bette Davis, Jimmy Cagney, Errol Flynn, Bogart. And, inevitably, there are the pictures of Jack as a randy fool ("The only women excluded from his bed were his own employees;" Marilyn Miller an exception), as a political neanderthal and McCarthy-ra creep - going overboard "to show that his own sheet was as white as that of any rampaging Ku Klux Klansman." Why was this cretinous pig such a successful mogul, then? "His penchant for detail. . . he knew every face on the lot and what could be done with the face. . . ." With a little new interview material, but mostly culled from the many recent Hollywood memoirs: a drab chronicle - with no drama or appeal in the personal-story, no special feeling for the studio's films, and lots of trivia going around for the second or third time. (Kirkus Reviews)show more