A former actor, Richard Thorpe switched to film directing in 1923, concentrating on cheap Westerns, crime films, and two-reel comedies. From 1933 through 1935, Thorpe was principal director (sometimes the only director) at the Poverty Row Chesterfield/Invincible studios, where his frugal habit of filming every scene in only one take served him well. He moved to MGM in 1935, where he remained until 1962. Though his direction tended to be perfunctory and unimaginative, Thorpe had several memorable productions to his credit, notably The Thin Man Goes Home (1944), The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), and Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock (1957); he also directed four of MGM's Tarzan films. Richard Thorpe was the father of Jerry Thorpe, himself a prolific director who spent much of his career at MGM.