After working in vaudeville, on the stage, and in early movies, Thorpe launched his directing career in 1923. After directing dozens of low-budget comedies and westerns, his talents were recognized in the mid-1930s when he went to work for MGM. Louis B. Mayer valued efficiency in his directors, and Thorpe prided himself in bringing a production in under budget -- which would be key to his remarkable longevity in Hollywood. He had no particular style, directing mechanically on the premise of keeping the camera rolling until an actor blew a line (or a scene suffered a mechanical malfunction) and then going back and completing it with a close-up or reaction shot). Mechanical or not, his technique worked. Though he never directed any blockbusters, he was a solid and dependable, directing 185 films over four decades, working in all genres before retiring 1967.