Fred Niblo directed some of the most legendary stars of the 1920s in some of that decade’s biggest films: Blood and Sand (with Valentino); The Mark of Zorro and The Three Musketeers (Fair-banks); and Ben Hur. He guided Garbo through The Temptress (replacing her mentor, Mauritz Stiller) and The Mysterious Lady. He worked with Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman, Conrad Nagel, Lionel Barrymore, Vilma Banky, and Norma Talmadge. Valentino, Fair-banks, and Garbo first come to mind at the mention of their films with Niblo. The other actors’ best work was done elsewhere, for other more rightfully distinguished filmmakers.
Niblo’s one distinction is his credit on Ben Hur , the cinema’s first real super-spectacle. Ben Hur is the Titanic of its day, a boondoggle that ran way over budget and took two years to complete. It was begun by the Goldwyn Company, and passed along when Goldwyn, Loew’s Metro, and Louis B. Mayer joined together to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ben Hur was initially shot on location… read more