22 July 2011 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Kevin Brownlow has won a lifetime-achievement Oscar and made superb films. So why isn't he better known?

On 13 November last year Kevin Brownlow received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement, alongside Francis Ford Coppola (Jean-Luc Godard didn't turn up). In his letter of nomination, Martin Scorsese declared that "Mr Brownlow is a giant among film historians and preservationists, known and justifiably respected throughout the world for his multiple achievements: as the author of The Parade's Gone By, a definitive history of the silent era, and . . . a biography of David Lean . . . and as the director with Andrew Mollo of two absolutely unique fiction films, Winstanley (1975) and It Happened Here (1964) . . . On a broader level, you might say that Mr Brownlow is film history." This sums up pretty well the extraordinary record of a remarkable Englishman.

But while Brownlow's achievements – as a historian of film, in preserving and restoring silent-era classics, and »

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