Filmmaker Maurice Tourneur's films are admired for their restrained subtlety and lingering moods, particularly in his mystery and fantasy films. He was born in France, a jewel merchant's son, and worked as a decorator and book illustrator until he entered the military service where he served with the French artillery in North Africa. He later became an assistant to sculptor Rodin before becoming an actor with the Rejane and Andre Antoine companies in 1900. In 1911 he was an assistant director at the Eclair film company; one year later he was promoted to director and was sent to America to work in Eclair's US unit. There he became renowned as an impressive stylist and directed many films with a variety of studios. He eventually returned to France following a disagreement at MGM over the production of The Mysterious Island. As he was considered a draft-dodger from WWI, he was not exactly welcomed, still he continued filmmaking until 1949 when he had a leg amputated following an auto wreck. The rest of his days were spent translating American mystery novels into French. His son Jacques Tourneur also became a director.