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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Vale David Shepard - Barrie Pattison & Neil McGlone recall the life of one of the cinema's major preservationists

David Shepard (1940-2017)
Barrie writes: I only met David Shepard a few times. I wouldn’t say I knew him, though we did once discuss my handling his Blackhawk VHSs in Australia. I nixed it because I figured that if I managed to promote any of his films here copies of my copy would promptly appear in the catalogues of all the active bootleggers here.

Shepard was a respected figure in the enthusiast area and was involved in an impressive range of restorations - Our Daily Bread (Vidor 1934) Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Lang 1922) Visages d’enfants (Feyder 1925) A King in New York (Chaplin 1957) Long Pants (Capra 1927) Prison Train (Wiles 1938) included. No wonder he carried off that slew of awards

He was agreeable company and I’m sorry to hear of his death. Kevin Brownlow is still about but the other movie enthusiast operators have pretty much gone now - Raymond Rohauer, Bill Everson and now David Shepard. I suspect they would have objected to being bracketed in that manner.

What they did has shifted into industrial operations like TCM and The Warner Archive where film is only (if you’re lucky) the first leg of the process and the circulation of celluloid mainly a memory. It’s not the same and I’m not sure it’s better.



Kevin Brownlow, David Shepard
Neil McGlone has drawn attention to these tributes from Serge Bromberg, Leonard Maltin and Kevin Brownlow which have been posted on YouTube


Editor's Note: David Shepard's name appears against a lot of major restorations that have been done in recent decades. His contribution to film preservation is amongst the greatest work in the field. He is owed a great deal. For more details and a partial list of the films he was involved with you can go to his Wikipedia page

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