After working in vaudeville, on the stage and in early movies, Richard Thorpe launched his directing career in 1923. After directing dozens of low-budget comedies and westerns, his talents were recognized in the mid-'30s when he went to work for MGM. Studio chief Louis B. Mayer valued efficiency in his directors, and Thorpe prided himself on bringing a production in under budget--that would be key to his remarkable longevity in Hollywood. He had no particular style, directing mechanically on the premise of keeping the camera rolling until an actor blew a line--or a scene suffered a mechanical malfunction--and then going back and completing it with a close-up or reaction shot. Mechanical or not, his technique worked. Though he never directed any blockbusters, he was solid and dependable, directing hundreds of movies of all genres for over four decades. He retired in 1967.
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