Entering films in 1914, onetime stage actor Elmer Clifton became a protege of D.W. Griffith. Clifton played major roles and functioned as a production assistant in Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), then was assigned to direct a number of features produced by Griffith's unit at Triangle Films. Among his better directorial efforts was the Dorothy Gish vehicle Nugget Nell (1919), the seafaring epic Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) and the rousing urban melodrama Let 'Er Go, Gallegher (1926). Most of Clifton's talking pictures were programmers, potboilers, westerns and serials for the lesser-echelon studios. While directing the 1949 Ida Lupino-produced Not Wanted, Elmer Clifton fell ill, obliging Lupino to briefly take over the directorial reigns herself. Elmer Clifton died shortly afterward; the last film to bear his imprimatur was the 1950 western The Silver Bandit (1950).