British born art director and special effects expert James Basevi began his film industry career in 1924 at MGM. Prior to that he had served in the British army. At MGM, he designed sets for silent films, often working with Cedric Gibbons. With the advent of sound films, he became head of the MGM special effects department where he did spectacular special effects like the earthquake scene in San Francisco (1936). In 1937 he began working for Fox. There he did the storm sequence in John Ford's The Hurricane. Two years later he returned to art direction and began working on some of Fox's most distinguished films. In 1943, he shared an Oscar with William Darling for their art direction of The Song of Bernadette.