Warner Bros.: 100 Years of Storytelling

Running Pr. May 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780762482375. $40. FILM
Presented as an official centennial history, this book by Vieira (Forbidden Hollywood) gives each decade of Warner Bros. history its own chapter that discusses key elements, players, and economic factors. The essays are understandably compressed, covering 10 years in five or six pages, but readers may find them uninspiring. There’s also a yearly list of the studio’s Oscar wins and nominations and pages of beautiful, well-captioned photographs. The book opens with a brief but fascinating biography of the four Warner brothers—Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack—and how their distinct personalities combined to make one impressive force in cinema, starting in the 1920s. Their gangster films shifted to detective stories after the passage of the 1934 moralistic Production Code, and the 1930s introduced Bette Davis and Bugs Bunny. Humphrey Bogart dominated the ’40s, and TV financially impacted the ’50s. The mid-1960s marked the arrival of the daring New Hollywood ethos and the increased need to win over a younger demographic, which led to films like The Exorcist, Batman, The Matrix, and the Harry Potter franchise. The book excels in its images alone.
VERDICT A visual treat for movie lovers everywhere.
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