Time Is Money: The Century, Rainbow, and Stern Brothers Comedies of Julius and Abe Stern by Thomas Reeder
“Our comedies are not to be laughed at!”
A funny line, admittedly, but dead wrong. This quip, supposedly uttered by one of the Stern Brothers, is another example of the legend becoming “fact,” and has defined – and tarnished –
the lasting reputation of the brothers and their films.
In spite of budgetary constraints and a lack of star power, Julius and Abe Stern were responsible for nearly 900 silent comedy shorts over the fifteen year period 1914-29; films often just as good – if not better – than those of their primary competitors, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach. They were financially successful as well, the brothers retiring from filmmaking at the end of the silent
era as millionaires.
But there is more to the story. Little known is the breadth and depth of the Sterns’ relationship with their brother-in-law, Universal head Carl Laemmle, and the relationship’s eventual downturn. Or Julius’s humanitarian endeavors in the 1930s, sponsoring the emigration of numerous Jews from Hitler’s Germany.
TIME IS MONEY! THE CENTURY, RAINBOW, AND STERN BROTHERS COMEDIES OF JULIUS AND ABE STERN finally reveals the intriguing – and true – story of the lives and careers of Julius and Abe Stern. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 rare photos, TIME IS MONEY! details the making of the brothers’ films, and delves into their previously undocumented, behind the scenes importance to Laemmle and the growth of Universal.