Kevin Brownlow Thinks a Treasure Trove of ‘Lost’ Silent Films Is Collecting Dust in Cuba

  • Indiewire
When you speak to Kevin Brownlow, you have a direct link to some of the greatest silent film directors who ever lived. The British film historian, now 80, interviewed and befriended many early film veterans when he was just in his twenties. He then spearheaded early efforts to preserve and restore silent films at a time when silent film was often derided. To say Brownlow has some stories about those early directors would be an understatement.

King Vidor would say to me, ‘Every time I saw a Cecil B. DeMille picture, it made me want to quit the business,’” Brownlow said during a phone interview with IndieWire from his home in London — a sentiment about the “Ten Commandments” filmmaker Brownlow disagrees with. In the 1960s, he also encountered Josef von Sternberg, Allan Dwan, and Abel Gance, whose 1927 epic “Napoleon” Brownlow spent over 12 years restoring before debuting a reconstituted print of the
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