• 11 April 1891
  •  San Bernardino, California, USA

Marshall Neilan


In the early days of silent pictures, Marshall Neilan was a top director for Goldwyn Pictures. He had also directed a small number of Louis B. Mayer's independently produced melodramas, but there was a mutual dislike between the two men. During the festivities inaugurating the merger of Metro and Goldwyn Pictures on April 26, 1924, Neilan grew disgusted at the prospect of listening to Mayer's speech and interrupted everything by ordering his cast and crew back to the set of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1924). Mayer later viewed the picture and ordered the downbeat ending re-shot over Neilan's loud protests. Mayer, wanting to instill his absolute authority over all production matters, held firm. The prospect of working for Mayer in the new Metro-Goldwyn super-studio was unbearable and Neilan quit. His was the first outright desertion from the studio that others over the next three decades would aspire to be a part of.