Melville W. Brown

Melville W. Brown
Born (1887-03-10)March 10, 1887
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Died January 31, 1938(1938-01-31) (aged 50)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director and screenwriter
Years active 1919–1937
Spouse(s) Margaret Brown

Melville W. Brown (March 10, 1887 – January 31, 1938), also known simply as Melville Brown, was an American film director, screenwriter and occasional actor. He began his career on the local stage in Oregon, in stock companies and vaudeville, before moving to California and working in the silent film industry in 1916, at the suggestion of Charlie Chaplin. His career was cut short when he died of a heart attack in January 1938.

Early life

Brown was born on March 10, 1887, to John and Fannie Brown of Portland, Oregon. He began his career in show business in local vaudeville productions and stock companies, such as the Baker Stock Company in Spokane, Washington. In 1916, at the suggestion of Charlie Chaplin, he moved to Hollywood to start a film career.[1]


His first known credit is as a screenwriter, on the 1919 silent film, The Pest, produced by Goldwyn Pictures, and directed by W. Christy Cabanne. Over the next several years he would continue to write screenplays, including the critically acclaimed The Goose Woman, which he adapted from a story by Rex Beach, and directed by Clarence Brown (no relation).[2][3] He would move into the directing field in 1926, with the film, Her Big Night, which he also wrote the screenplay for. In 1935, he left Hollywood and went to England, where he directed several films over the next two years, the last of which, Mad About Money, was released after his death.[4] Over the course of his career, he would write or direct over 30 films in Hollywood and the United Kingdom.[4][5][6]

He returned from England in late 1937, and was working on a screenplay when he was stricken by a heart attack and died on January 31, 1938, at the age of 50.[1]


Film Year Credit Stars Reference
The Pest 1919 writer Mabel Normand, John Bowers, and Charles Gerard [5]
Fashionable Fakers 1923 writer Johnnie Walker, Mildred June, and George Cowl [6]
The Gaiety Girl 1924 writer Mary Philbin, Joseph J. Dowling, and William Haines [6]
The Rose of Paris 1924 writer Mary Philbin, Robert Cain, and John Sainpolis [6]
The Goose Woman 1925 writer Louise Dresser, Jack Pickford, and Constance Bennett [6]
Smouldering Fires 1925 writer Pauline Frederick, Laura La Plante, and Malcolm McGregor [6]
Where Was I? 1925 writer Reginald Denny, Marion Nixon, and Pauline Garon [6]
Her Big Night 1926 writer, director Laura La Plante, Einar Hansen, and ZaSu Pitts [5]
Poker Faces 1926 writer Edward Everett Horton, Laura La Plante, and George Siegmann [5]
What Happened to Jones 1926 writer Reginald Denny, Marian Nixon, and Melbourne MacDowell [5]
Taxi Taxi 1927 writer, director Edward Everett Horton, Marian Nixon, and Burr McIntosh [5]
Fast and Furious 1927 director Reginald Denny, Barbara Worth, and Claude Gillingwater [5]
13 Washington Square 1928 director Jean Hersholt, Alice Joyce, and George Lewis [5]
Buck Privates 1928 writer, director Lya De Putti, Malcolm McGregor, and ZaSu Pitts [6]
Red Lips 1928 writer, director Marion Nixon, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, and Stanley Taylor [6]
Dance Hall 1929 director Olive Borden, Arthur Lake, and Margaret Seddon [6]
Geraldine 1929 director Marian Nixon, Eddie Quillan, and Albert Gran [6]
Jazz Heaven 1929 director John Mack Brown, Sally O'Neil, and Clyde Cook [6]
The Love Doctor 1929 director Richard Dix, June Collyer, and Morgan Farley [6]
Check and Double Check 1930 director Freeman F. Gosden, Charles J. Correll, and Sue Carol [6]
Lovin' the Ladies 1930 director Richard Dix, Lois Wilson, and Allen Kearns [6]
She's My Weakness 1930 director Arthur Lake, Sue Carol, and Lucien Littlefield [6]
Behind Office Doors 1931 director Mary Astor, Robert Ames, and Ricardo Cortez [6]
White Shoulders 1931 director Mary Astor, Jack Holt, and Ricardo Cortez [6]
Fanny Foley Herself 1931 director Edna May Oliver, Hobart Bosworth, and Florence Roberts [6]
Lost in the Stratosphere 1934 director William Cagney, Eddie Nugent, and June Collyer [6]
Redhead 1934 director Bruce Cabot, Grace Bradley, and Regis Toomey [6]
The Nut Farm 1935 director Wallace Ford, Betty Alden, and Florence Roberts [6]
Spring Tonic 1935 writer, director Lew Ayres, Claire Trevor, and Walter King [6]
Forced Landing 1935 director Esther Ralston, Onslow Stevens, and Sidney Blackmer [6]
Champagne for Breakfast 1935 director Mary Carlisle, Hardie Albright, and Joan Marsh [6]
Head Office 1936 director Owen Nares, Nancy O'Neil, and Arthur Margetson [4]
Mad about Money 1936 director Mary Cole, Arthur Finn, and Alf Goddard [4]


  1. 1 2 "Obituaries". Variety. February 2, 1938. p. 62. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  2. "The Goose Woman". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  3. Hall, Mordaunt (August 4, 1925). "Alias French Gertie: Safe Crackers". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Melville Brown". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Melville W. Brown". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 "Melville Brown". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
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