Began his career as an actor, moved behind the camera as assistant to Cecil B. DeMille in 1915 and made his directorial debut in 1920 with "Double Speed". Wood displayed a certain flair for complementing the talents of whatever stars he was handed, turning out a number of Gloria Swanson vehicles at Paramount in the early 1920s ("Bluebeard's Eight Wife" 1923 etc.), and hitting his modest stride at MGM in the 30s. His output includes two Marx Brothers films, the durable soap opera "Madame X" (1937), the unjustly overlooked "Lord Jeff" (1938) and "Ivy" (1947), the poignant dramas "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) and "Kitty Foyle" (1940), and the literary adaptations "Our Town" (1940) and "Kings Row" (1942). A number of Wood's films stand largely on the strength of their casts and production crews, and he did occasionally have the out-and-out stinker (e.g., "For Whom the Bell Tolls" 1943).
A conservative in politics as well as in film practice, Wood testified before HUAC in 1947. Father of actress K.T. (Katherine) Stevens (nee Gloria Wood), who played a supporting role in "Kitty Foyle" and enjoyed short-lived leading lady status in the 1940s.