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In this official centennial history of the greatest studio in Hollywood, unforgettable stars, untold stories, and rare images from the Warner Bros. vault bring a century of entertainment to vivid life.
The history of Warner Bros. is not just the tale of a legendary film studio and its stars, but of classic Hollywood itself, as well as a portrait of America in the last century. It’s a family story of Polish-Jewish immigrants—the brothers Warner—who took advantage of new opportunities in the burgeoning film industry at a time when four mavericks could invent ways of operating, of warding off government regulation, and of keeping audiences coming back for more during some of the nation's darkest days.
Innovation was key to their early success. Four years after its founding, the studio revolutionized moviemaking by introducing sound in The Jazz Singer (1927). Stars and stories gave Warner Bros. its distinct identity as the studio where tough guys like Humphrey Bogart and strong women like Bette Davis kept people on the edge of their seats. Over the years, these acclaimed actors and countless others made magic on WB’s soundstages and were responsible for such diverse classics as Casablanca, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Star Is Born, Bonnie & Clyde, Malcolm X, Caddyshack, Purple Rain, and hundreds more.
It’s the studio that put noir in film with The Maltese Falcon and other classics of the genre, where the iconic Looney Tunes were unleashed on animation, and the studio that took an unpopular stance at the start of World War II by producing anti-Nazi films. Counter-culture hits like A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist carried the studio through the 1970s and '80s. Franchise phenomena like Harry Potter, the DC universe, and more continue to shape a cinematic vision and longevity that is unparalleled in the annals of film history. These stories and more are chronicled in this comprehensive and stunning volume.