Kevin Brownlow

Highest Rated: 100% The Wind (1928)
Lowest Rated: 67% It Happened Here (1999)
Birthday: Jun 2, 1938
Birthplace: Not Available
In his four decade career as a film director and editor, restoration expert, and author, Kevin Brownlow has raised the public consciousness about silent movies to the highest level they've enjoyed since the advent of the talkies. Born in Crowborough, a village in Sussex, in 1938, he developed a fascination with movies very early in life, and at age 11 was given a projector as a gift by his parents. Brownlow began collecting silent films during an era in which few people in England (or anywhere else) thought of movies as anything more than entertainment. From the late '40s onward, he became something of a self-taught expert on the subject of silent movies, and he discovered a special affinity for French films, with their rapid cutting and emotional quality, so much so that from ages 16 through 19, he shot a movie in a distinctly French style, entitled The Capture based on a Guy de Maupassant story. It was during this period that he first got to see a few reels of a 1927 French film by Abel Gance entitled Napoléon. Brownlow was held spellbound by the fragmentary sections of the movie that he could find and began searching for more of the film, as well as information on Gance, who had fallen into relative obscurity by the 1950s. He gradually assembled an ever-larger portion of Napoléon's complete content, even as his own filmmaking aspirations grew. By the mid-'50s, Brownlow was employed as a trainee film cutter by a production company making documentaries. He decided to make another movie, to be called It Happened Here, a documentary-style feature built around the notion of what would have happened had the Germans successfully invaded England in 1940. Working with a cast and crew comprised entirely of volunteers, Brownlow began his ambitious shoot in 1956, even enacting a National Socialist rally in London's Hyde Park that was so realistic that the police and onlookers mistook it for the real thing. It took Brownlow eight years to complete It Happened Here, in the face of the desertion of would-be volunteers, resistance by government authorities, and ridicule in the local press. Early in that struggle, however, he also found a key ally and collaborator in Andrew Mollo, an art student and expert on World War II uniforms. Starting out as a production designer, Mollo soon became the movie's co-producer and co-director with Brownlow. Brownlow also found an ally in critic and future director Lindsay Anderson, who encouraged his efforts on the movie and also his efforts to write about films. He wrote articles for various film journals and also became an editor at his studio. Then in his twenties and possessing some professional standing, Brownlow and his film project began to be taken much more seriously by those around him, including the press, which by the early '60s, regarded his now six-year effort as worthy, if still unlikely to achieve its goal. That all changed when producer/director Tony Richardson provided the 6,000 pounds needed to complete the movie. By that time, It Happened Here was a shoestring but professional production, employing the services of professionals, including actor Sebastian Shaw. It Happened Here established Brownlow and Mollo as serious filmmakers when it was premiered in 1964, and it was subsequently picked up for distribution in America by United Artists. They only lacked credibility with the major studios, whose management were as much put off as they were fascinated by the duo's success. Brownlow and Mollo discovered what Roger Corman learned when he made his first movie for a major studio (The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, 20th Century Fox): the majors are at best amused, and at worst frightened, by people who make their movies without spending lots of money, but mostly they're annoyed by them; they prefer routine productions (especially in those days) on six- or seven-figure budgets, and even very slightly sloppy productions against which as many extraneous day-to-day studio expenses as possible can

Highest Rated Movies



93% Notfilm Actor 2015
No Score Yet Garbo Director 2005
No Score Yet The Tramp and the Dictator Director 2002
No Score Yet Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood Actor 2001
No Score Yet Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces Director 2000
No Score Yet Winstanley Director Screenwriter Producer 1999
67% It Happened Here Screenwriter 1999
No Score Yet Buster Keaton - A Hard Act to Follow Set Screenwriter Director 1998
No Score Yet D.W. Griffith: Father of Film Screenwriter Producer Director 1993
No Score Yet Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius Director 1989
No Score Yet Universal Horror Director 1988
No Score Yet Unknown Chaplin Director 1983
No Score Yet Winstanley Screenwriter 1979
No Score Yet Millay at Steepletop Director 1968
100% The Wind Producer 1928
93% The Cat and the Canary Producer 1927
100% The Big Parade Producer 1925
No Score Yet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Producer 1921


No Score Yet American Masters
Producer Screenwriter Director
  • 2002


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