THE BOOK REPORT: You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story

You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story
By Richard Schickel & George Perry
(Running Press)

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In the case of Richard Schickel and George Perry’s You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story, you can see the book as well as read the movie. What I mean to say is, the book, a written history of the famous movie studio, is the companion to a five-hour documentary, which aired over multiple nights on PBS. The film and this book celebrate the 85th anniversary of Warners and though you don’t need to see or read one to appreciate reading or seeing the other, taken as a whole, you get just about everything you’ll ever need to know about Warner Brothers’ history.

The book though is a big hardcover, a ‘tome’ in the best sense of the word. Meticulously researched as you’d expect Schickel and Perry to have done, You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story begins with an introduction by Clint Eastwood, a man who has made Warners his home for most of his career (he also narrated the film). We then get a chronological history of the studio; from the Warner brothers beginnings and slow rise early in the century with the new medium of film, through their first real star, canine Rin Tin Tin, through the innovative introduction of sound to ‘talkies’ with their 1927 The Jazz Singer (ironically brother Sam Warner, the one who drove the studio into sound, died on the eve of the film’s premier), through the thirties with ultra-realistic gangster films like Little Ceasar and Public Enemy to classics like Casablanca, 42nd Street, To Have and Have Not, Giant, All The Presidents Men, even Harry Potter…really the list goes on and on. Along the way Schickel and Perry impress upon us how socially responsible Warners were through the real war, cold war, and all the other social concerns of the times. With over 300 hundred rare photos of stars, productions, stars in productions, and historical photographs, You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story is a must for any movie fanatic or budding film historian.

Ralph Greco, Jr.

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