Film Legend Kevin Brownlow at Emory

November 15, 2011
Kevin Brownlow received an Academy Award in 2010 for the "wise and devoted chronicling of the cinematic parade."
Photo courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

ATLANTA (Nov. 15, 2011)— Kevin Brownlow, film historian, filmmaker and Academy Award recipient, presents the lecture “My Life with Napoleon (1927)” Dec. 1, 8 p.m. in White Hall 207 on the Emory campus. Using film clips, he will discuss his restoration on a lifelong project to return Abel Gance’s film, “Napoleon,” to its original form, including the dramatic Polyvision triptych finale. His complete restoration of the legendary “Napoleon” will have its long-awaited U.S. premiere this spring at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, with a live orchestral score composed and conducted by Carl Davis. The Dec. 1 presentation, followed by a reception, is free and open to the public. Event details available at

Brownlow has spent a career restoring silent films and championing the work of past cinematic masters. In November 2010, he received an Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for the wise and devoted chronicling of the cinematic parade.” As the Academy noted, “few film historians” receive such “recognition.”

Brownlow’s cinematic career began when he entered documentary production in 1955. In the 1960s, he was Lindsay Anderson’s editor on “The White Bus” and supervising editor on Tony Richardson's “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1968). With Andrew Mollo, he directed two feature films, “It Happened Here” (1964), which depicts Great Britain occupied by the Nazis, and “Winstanley” (1975), a meticulously researched and realized portrait of the 17th century English social reformer who experimented with communal living among the poor after Oliver Cromwell’s Civil War.
He is the author of several books of film history, including “The Parade’s Gone By” (1968),  “The West and the Wilderness” (1979), “Hollywood: The Pioneers” (1980), “Napoleon: Abel Gance’s Classic Film” (1983), “Behind the Mask of Innocence: Sex, Violence, Crime: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era” (1992), “David Lean: A Biography” (1997),  “Mary Pickford Rediscovered”  (1999), and “The Search for Charlie Chaplin” (2010).
His scholarship has extended notably to his creation, with his partners at Photoplay Productions including Patrick Stanbury, many highly acclaimed documentaries of film history: "Hollywood: The Pioneers" (1980), "Unknown Chaplin" (1983), "D.W. Griffith: Father of Film" (1993), "Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood" (1995), "Universal Horror" (1998), "The Tramp and the Dictator" (2001), "So Funny it Hurt: Buster Keaton and MGM" (2004), "Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic" (2004), "Garbo" (2005) and "I’m King Kong: The Exploits of Merian Cooper" (2005).
His film restorations include more than 25 silent films, including classics such as "Intolerance" (D.W. Griffith), "The Thief of Bagdad" (starring Douglas Fairbanks), "Ben-Hur," King Vidor’s "The Crowd," Buster Keaton’s "The General and Our Hospitality," F.W. Murnau’s "Nosferatu" and "Sunrise," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Wings."


Media Contacts

  • Media Contact:
    Jessica Cook
    Marketing Manager
    Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts
  • Program Contact:
    Matthew Bernstein
    Chair, Film and Media Studies

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