Noel M. Smith entered films in 1913 as an assistant director and comedy gag man. In this capacity, Smith worked with most of the major "laugh factories," including Mack Sennett's. He moved into features in the 1920s, directing mostly action melodramas until the end of the silent era. In the mid-'30s, he became a fixture of the Warner Bros. B-picture unit, helming many of the studio's series entries (Torchy Blane, the Dead End Kids) and remakes of previous A-pictures. Active until 1951, Noel M. Smith also did a great deal of second-unit direction, notably for the 1949 adventure drama The Big Cat.