Kevin Brownlow


Making Sure the Parade Doesn’t Pass by...

The film collector community owes an enormous debt to Kevin Brownlow for introducing them to a once-lost, magical world of artistry known as silent films.  Like Aladdin in the Arabian nights tale, Kevin stumbled upon a 9.5 mm roll of film at a Parisian market and it changed the course of his life. 

A film collector at 11, Kevin authored his first film magazine whose circulation was limited to viewers at his home cinema where he ran early silent prints.  At 16, he saw, for the first time, fragments of what would become his life’s work; the restoration of Abel Gance’s (pictured below with Kevin) silent masterpiece “Napoleon”.   As Britain’s leading film historian, it would not be hyperbole to state that if it were not for the efforts of Kevin Brownlow, much of the true history of early film would have been lost to us forever.

His foresight, along with his then-producing partner, David Gill (1928-1997) [pictured above in the sidebar with Brownlow], to interview silent film stars in the 1960s affords us a rare glimpse into cinema’s early years from the first-hand, perspectives of those who actually lived them.   His love of film resurrected the career of once-forgotten film director, Abel Gance, and helped restore him to his rightful place in history as creator and pioneer of some of the most important filming techniques still in use today.   Brownlow’s restorations of early silents introduced this art form to new generations.

Director-Producer-Writer-Editor-Cinematographer-Actor-Author-Historian-Lecturer-Archivist-Three-Time-Emmy-Winning-Multiple-BAFTA Nominee Kevin Brownlow is probably the longest hyphenate in film.  To list his documentaries, narrative films, guest appearances and books would take many pages.  Below are some links to give you a starting point into the wonderful world Kevin Brownlow had saved for us.

Movies by Kevin Brownlow on DVD
available at Milestone Films
Selected Kevin Brownlow Links:

Internet Movie Database Biography
Kevin Brownlow: Intro to Silents 
Village Voice Article
British Film Institute Link
Dennis Doros Article “An Afternoon With Kevin Brownlow” on Kevin Brownlow
The Times “Silents Please” Article

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Kevin Brownlow and David Gill

Abel Gance and Kevin Brownlow