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Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul

USA 1993/2023
produced by
Gregory Orr
directed by Gregory Orr
starring Shirley Jones, Jack Warner jr, Debbie Reynolds, Neal Gabler, William T. Orr, Cass Sperling, Sheila MacRae, Rudy Behlmer, Rudi Fehr, Gregory Orr, narration by Efrem Zimbalist jr
written by Gregory Orr, based on the life of Jack L. Warner, music by Herman Beeftink, Matt Rocker


review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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It's hard to imagine today when the film business has grown into a multi-billion Dollar industry, and Warner Brothers is a key player in the game, but in the early 1900s, the company started out as a very modest family business, when brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack L. Warner, sons of Polish-Jewish immigrants, pawned off the family horse to buy a movie projector to try their luck as projectionists - apparently with some success as they soon started to produce movies for their own business, expanded, and eventually created their first in-house star, the dog Rin-Tin-Tin. However, in the silent era, Warner Brothers was little more than an also-ran among the studios - until of course a company called Vitaphone developed a system to synchronise sound (initially from a record player) and film. This invention was generally snubbed by movie producers, all but the brothers Warner, who were quick to produce a feature film starring by then already established singer Al Jolson, The Jazz Singer, widely credited as the first talkie, and it became a raving success - and one that finally put Warner Brothers on the map for good. Of the four brothers, Jack, the youngest, was pretty much the face of the company, as he embodied showmanship to the fullest, and it's said that the stars/protagonists of Warner Brothers-movies were often stand-ins for himself, a wannabe movie star. Now of course, on the surface, the company went from strength to strength, the studio producing classics like The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, House of Wax, A Star is Born, Rebel Without a Cause, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and one of the last hits of Jack L.'s reign, the multiple Oscar winner My Fair Lady from 1964 - but on the inside, things didn't look quite as rosey, as over the years, Jack L. faced more and more opposition from his oldest and perhaps most level-headed brother Harry, so that eventually Jack tricked his brothers into a deal to sell their stock in the company in 1956, while he secretly rebought his to gain sole control. However, while still producing occasional hits for the big screen, Jack started to lose the ability to read the signs of the time, as reflected in his total disregard for the TV arm of the company, which by now had become the bread-and-butter winner for the studio, and eventually, he too was tricked out of his stake in Warner Brothers, with his efforts to make it as an independent producer leading to nowhere ...


An updated version of the 1993 documentary of the same name, Gregory Orr, grandson of Jack L. Warner no less, has managed to make a movie that due to its subject matter is steeped in nostalgia of course, but that at the same time manages to take a very level-headed approach to things, show the shadows as well as the light, and present a fascinating rounded out picture of a by-gone era, as shown in movie clips, interviews and even the occasional home movie from the family's archives, which ultimately culminates a movie that's sure to sit well with any film fan out there.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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