Harry and Jack Warner were among the most important advocates and fundraisers of President Franklin Roosevelt during his 1932 presidential campaign, supporting his New Deal legislation in successful Great Depression musicals like 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade. But while the Warner brothers posed as exemplars of the New Deal in real life and in their movies, they were attempting to reverse Roosevelt's policies within their studio and their industry.
Using newly unearthed primary sources, this ground-breaking book examines the bitter and little known struggle in Hollywood and Washington D.C. during 1933 to create a National Recovery Administration (NRA) code of practice for the motion picture industry. But through the manipulation of New Deal legislation, Harry and Jack Warner, along with other studio moguls, sought to curtail workers' rights and salaries instead of bolstering both sides of the labour/management divide as they were supposed to do under NRA regulations, attempting to serve the economic pain of the Depression as much as possible onto artists and craftsmen, not owners or management. With its tales of Hollywood stars and employees fighting to win a fair share of the proceeds of their labour, the creation of the NRA code makes for an intriguing story of financial survival, political intrigue and backstabbing during the worst of the Great Depression.