George Melford
(02/19/1877 - 04/25/1961)

George H. Melford was an accomplished stage actor working in Cincinnati, Ohio before joining the Kalem Company motion picture business in New York City in 1909. Hired by Sidney Olcott for character actor roles, in the fall of 1910 he was sent to work with a film crew on the West Coast.

In 1911, with Robert Vignola, he co-directed Ruth Roland in his first short film titled "Arizona Bill" based on a script he had written. From there, Melford went on to direct another thirty films for Kalem Studios until 1915 when he was hired by Jesse L. Lasky to direct feature-length films for his Feature Play Company. That same year, Melford became one of the founding members of the Motion Picture Directors Association.

In 1916, George Melford directed "To Have and to Hold," a film based on the Mary Johnston novel that had been the bestselling novel in the United States for the year 1900.

In 1921, he directed what is probably his most famous silent film "The Sheik", starring Rudolph Valentino .

Melford remained with Lasky's company for ten years then joined Universal Studios where he directed his first talkie in 1929. The following year, because he could speak the language, he co-directed four Spanish language films including the 1931 acclaimed Spanish version of Drácula. Melford filmed it simultaneously with the English version on the same sets at night using a different cast and crew.

His last major work as a director came in 1937 when he and Harry L. Fraser co-directed Columbia Pictures' first serial, a 15 episode, five hour long adventure film titled "Jungle Menace" and starring Frank Buck.

At age sixty, the workaholic Melford needed to slow down and decided to give up the stressful job of directing to take on simple character actor roles. However, in 1946 Harry L. Fraser convinced him to co-direct "Jungle Terror," a feature-length sequel to their successful "Jungle Menace" serial.

Available Films

The Charlatan (1929)