Archive for December, 2009

Kevin Brownlow

December 5, 2009

Number 2: This is the second in a series exploring those who write about the cinema. This is another case of a writer who also makes his own movies as well as writing about them.

Back when I was a college student, I started a lifelong voyage of going deeply into movies.  I became an ardent devotee of the cinema and an occasional film maker myself.  One of the books I read at that time was Kevin Brownlow’s 1968 study of silent films The Parade’s Gone By…

Recently, I read it again.  It’s still wonderful and made me want to see those films again.  A lot of the people were still around then and he was able to interview them.  I’ve read a few of his other books and articles as well.  He’s also made a number of films.

I’ve seen his feature films It Happened Here and Winstanley.  Also, he entered into a partnership with the late David Gill.  I’ve watched their trilogy on the great silent film comics many times.  Unknown Chaplin on Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow and Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius are wonderful treats for fans of these men.  They include such things as out-takes and home movies.

Other films I’ve seen include D.W. Griffith: Father of Film, Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood, Universal Horror, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces and I’m King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper.

He continued making documentary films after Gill’s death.  He’s also been involved with film restoration, most notably with Abel Gance’s epic late silent film, Napoleon.  If you’re interested in silent films, his work is a good place to go to.

A biography of Brownlow:

his ten “essential silents” :

Abel Gance’s Napoleon:

an interview, part one of five parts: