Ingram, Rex

In Ireland’s Own Summer Annual 1988

REX INGRAM, director of such Hollywood movies as “The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”, “The Conquering Power”, “Mare Nostrum” and “The Garden Of Allah”, whose real name was Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock, grew up in the picturesque Offaly village of Kinnitty, on the foothills of the Slieve Blooms, where he was son of the local Rector.

Regarded as “undistinguished” in his schooling, he obtained a post at the Edison Film Studios in New York in 1913 and first directed for the United Film Company three years later. In later life he founded a studio at Nice and was decorated by both the French Government and the Bey of Tunis – the latter a recognition of his interest in the Arab world. He and his wife, Alice Terry, adopted an Arab boy named Abd-El-Karer.

His religious views underwent something of an odyssey from the Anglicanism of his youth; he experimented with a variety of ideas, but his espousal of philosophies which differed from orthodox Christianity did not prevent him from retaining a good relationship with his father (his mother died when he was young). He once did a sculpture of Christ asleep in the arms of the Buddha. Rex Ingram, the discoverer of Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Navarro appears to have converted to Islam later in life, and signed his name Bin Alia Nasr El-din, but he was buried according to Anglican rites in Los Angeles in 1950.