Destiny (1944)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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When director Julien Duvivier's episodic, all-star drama Flesh and Fantasy proved a bit too long in previews, Universal decided to remove the film's opening segment, which dealt with the foredoomed romance between an escaped criminal and a blind girl. Because this segment was too good to waste, the studio hired screenwriter Roy Chanslor to come up with additional material and Reginald LeBorg to direct a few new scenes, so that the episode could be released as a separate feature film. The result was the 65-minute Destiny, a curious melange of the sublime and the banal. The Duvivier-directed footage stars Alan Curtis as fugitive-from-justice Cliff Banks, who hides from the authorities in the farmhouse owned by kindly Clem Broderick (Frank Craven). Clem's daughter Jane (Gloria Jean), blind from birth, "sees" only the good in the outwardly unsavory Cliff, so it isn't surprising that the two fall in love. This tender little episode was supposed to have ended tragically, but Universal insisted upon a few "framing" scenes, directed by LeBorg, wherein Cliff is shown to be innocent of the crimes for which he has been imprisoned, and which allowed Cliff and Jane a happy denouement The stylistic schism between the "old" and "new" scenes is glaringly obvious; still, what's left of the original Duvivier footage is terrific, with Alan Curtis and Gloria Jean offering the finest performances of their screen careers.

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Keywords

bad-guy-turns-good, blindness [physical], car, criminal, daughter, destiny, farming, fate, fugitive, girl, hidden, hideout, homicide, imprisonment-false, killing, life-of-crime, man, mysticism, on-the-run, plans, prison, reform [improve], robbery