Kevin Brownlow

Kevin Brownlow series for Thames Television, Unknown Chaplin made with David Gill, demonstrated Chaplin’s working methods. His books include The parade’s gone by and ‘Napoleon’: Abel Glance’s Classic Film.

Best Beloved

Kevin Brownlow, 18 April 1985

The day has passed, thank heaven, when a film historian can read five books and write the sixth. In the bad old days this was often the case, particularly when the subject was Charlie Chaplin. Some writers described the early films without even seeing them. But that is nothing compared to the people who pretended to have worked with Chaplin. I once interviewed a celebrated American comedian who claimed to have been a child actor with Chaplin in Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914). Half-way through, I realised that the man was making it all up. Not only was he lying about the part he played – he had not even taken the precaution of seeing the film he was talking about.’

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences