The Warner Bros. film studio was founded in April 1923 by a quartet of immigrant brothers, Albert, Sam, Harry, and Jack Warner, who had previously worked as traveling film exhibitors throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. Realizing that the growth of their nascent studio would be improved with film production, they headed West, to Culver City, California, where they built the studio that soon brought sound to the cinema with The Jazz Singer (1927), perfected the gangster film with The Public Enemy (1931), produced the iconic Casablanca (1942), and so much more. Over the last two decades the studio has given global audiences epic film franchises like the Harry Potter series and a formidable trilogy of trilogies: The Lord of the Rings, Christopher Nolan’s Batman, and The Matrix; elegant examinations of American history (Good Night and Good Luck); and cheeky humor (The Campaign, Dark Shadows, The Hangover). The studio has also been home base for Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions for decades, resulting in films like Gran Torino and Trouble with the Curve. This selection of Warner Bros. productions from the past 20 years, all drawn from MoMA’s collection, illustrates the studio’s continuing commitment to the artistic and commercial legacy of the four Warner brothers, some 90 years later.
Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.