[CORRECTION: This series ended Thursday night and will not conclude tonight, Friday, as I originally reported.] Tonight brings a real treat for movie buffs: You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story. The five hour documentary premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on American Masters and continues tomorrow and Friday (check local listings; PBS affiliates are notorious renegades).
Warners was the home of Bette Davis and James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart and Bugs Bunny right through to Clint Eastwood (who narrates) and the big budget Superman and Batman movies.
Paying homage to the 85-year history is Richard Schickel, the long time Time magazine film critic, who is the writer, director and producer of the series. Also involved is documentary filmmaker Gregory Orr, step-grandson of film mogul Jack Warner.
A hefty reminder to get the word out on this series arrived today via courier: a lavishly illustrated and enormous companion book, co-authored by Schickel and George Perry. Like the documentary, it covers the entire 85-year story of the studio, from its first big star–a German shepherd named Rin-Tin-Tin–to Dirty Harry to Harry Potter.
Jon Voight was on the press tour panel last July in Los Angeles promoting the series and told a long but funny story about working with Burt Reynolds on the set of Deliverance. You can jump to my earlier report on that here.
I’ve seen two hours of the documentary and it was enough to hook me on seeing the rest of the series. if you love Casablanca or East of Eden or Yankee Doodle Dandy or The Searchers or All The President’s Men, check out the studio behind those pictures.