Warner Bros: The Making of an American Movie Studio
By David Thomson
Published August 8, 2017
“Witty and stunningly original” —Jeanine Basinger, author of The Star Machine
Behind the scenes at the legendary Warner Brothers film studio, where four immigrant brothers transformed themselves into the moguls and masters of American fantasy
Warner Bros charts the rise of an unpromising film studio from its shaky beginnings in the early twentieth century through its ascent to the pinnacle of Hollywood influence and popularity. The Warner Brothers—Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack—arrived in America as unschooled Jewish immigrants, yet they founded a studio that became the smartest, toughest, and most radical in all of Hollywood.
David Thomson provides fascinating and original interpretations of Warner Brothers pictures from the pioneering talkie The Jazz Singer through black-and-white musicals, gangster movies, and such dramatic romances as Casablanca, East of Eden, and Bonnie and Clyde. He recounts the storied exploits of the studio’s larger-than-life stars, among them Al Jolson, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Doris Day, and Bugs Bunny. The Warner brothers’ cultural impact was so profound, Thomson writes, that their studio became “one of the enterprises that helped us see there might be an American dream out there.”
About the Author
David Thomson is a film critic and historian, and the author of more than twenty books, including The Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its sixth edition, and Why Acting Matters. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
“I believe David Thomson to be one of the very best and most incisive writers on film. He has a poetic and dreamlike understanding of what films mean, but is precise in his observations. He presents a very, very high level of understanding in language that is not only accessible, but often witty and stunningly original.” —Jeanine Basinger, author of The Star Machine
“David Thomson writes about the cultural and historical significance of cinema with irreverent wit, deep knowledge and devotional lyricism. Warner Bros (the studio, the films, and the immigrant brothers themselves) becomes a fascinating lens through which to examine American identity.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others and Eat the Document