It is known that Rex Ingram lived in Nenagh town at the turn of the 19th century. Whilst living in Nenagh, Rex Ingram watched his first moving picture in 1901, when as a young man, he attended a travelling circus that visited the town. From there, it could be possible to say, that a little seed was planted in the future Hollywood Great’s mind. So why don’t you come along and visit us at the Nenagh Silent Film Festival this coming February and walk in the footsteps of a young Rex Ingram. Who knows, you too may be influenced!
Born: Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock
Date of Birth: January 15, 1893
Where: Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 21, 1950 (aged 58)
Lived: North Hollywood, California
Spouse: Doris Pawn (m.1917)
Alice Terry (1921-1950)
Rex Ingram studied sculpture at the Yale University School of Art, but soon moved into film. He first took acting work from 1913 and then writing, producing and directing. His first work as producer-director was in 1916 on the romantic drama The Great Problem. He worked for Edison Studios, Fox Film Corporation, Vitagraph Studios, and then MGM, where he directed mainly action or supernatural films. In 1920, he moved to Metro, where he was under supervision of executive June Mathis. Mathis and Ingram would go on to make four films together, Hearts are Trump, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Conquering Power, and Turn to the Right. It is believed the two were romantically involved. Ingram and Mathis had begun to grow distant when her new find, Rudolph Valentino, began to overshadow his own fame. Their relationship, however, ended when Rex Ingram eloped with Alice Terry in 1921.
During his lifetime, Rex Ingram married twice; first to the actress Doris Pawn in 1917 – this ended in divorce in 1920. He then married Alice Terry in 1921, with whom he remained for the rest of his life. In 1925, Ingram and Fred Niblo directed the hugely successful epic Ben-Hur, filming parts of it in Italy. He and his wife decided to move to the French Riviera. They formed a small studio in Nice and made several films on location in North Africa, Spain, and Italy for MGM and others.
Amongst those who worked for Ingram at MGM on the Riviera during this period was the young Michael Powell, who later went on to direct (with Emeric Pressburger) The Red Shoes and other classics. By Powell’s own account, Ingram was a major influence on him. Indeed Ingram’s influence on Powell’s later work can be detected, especially in its themes in illusion, dreaming, magic and the surreal. David Lean also admitted he was deeply indebted to Ingram, and MGM studio chief Dore Schary once listed the top creative people in Hollywood as D. W. Griffith, Rex Ingram, Cecil B. DeMille, and Erich von Stroheim (in declining order of importance).
Unimpressed with he advent of sound, Rex Ingram made only one talkie, Baroud, which was filmed for Gaumont British Pictures in Morocco. The film was a not a commercial success and Ingram left the film business, returning to Los Angeles to work as a sculptor and writer. As he was interested in Islam as early as 1927, he converted to the faith in 1933.
Rex Ingram’s films were considered by many contemporary directors to be artistic and skillful, with an imaginative and bold visual style. In 1949, the Directors Guild of America bestowed an Honorary Life Membership on him. For his contribution to the motion picture industry he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1651 Vine Street.
Rex Ingram also wrote two novels, which were titled Mars in the House of Death and The Legion Advances.
Rex Ingram died from a cerebral hemorrhage on July 21st 1950 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
Information Sourced at Wikipedia
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