A stage actor and director, Brown began assisting on films in 1920, and worked on the lighting of Erich von Stroheim's Foolish Wives in 1922. He began producing and directing westerns and actioners starring Reed Howes in 1925; two years later he also helmed Ken Maynard westerns, starting with The Land Beyond the Law and Gun Gospel. Brown accompanied Maynard into talkies with such films as Parade of the West and Sons of the Saddle, but turned from directing to producing in 1933. He helmed only one more film, the 1944 musical Knickerbocker Holiday. As a producer his notable films include Michael Curtiz' Captain Blood, Howard Hawks' Ceiling Zero, Gerd Oswald's Screaming Mimi, and several of Budd Boetticher's westerns with Randolph Scott: The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station.