Destiny (1944 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Reginald Le Borg|
Julien Duvivier (uncredited)
|Produced by||Roy William Neill|
Howard Benedict (uncredited)
|Screenplay by||Roy Chanslor|
|Story by||Jean Levy-Strauss|
|Music by||Frank Skinner|
|Edited by||Paul Landres|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
A fugitive from the law (Curtis) leaps from a bridge, then gets a ride from a meek librarian (McDonald). After explaining how he became the victim of several double-crosses, he eventually finds refuge with a blind girl (Jean) and her father (Craven) at a secluded farmhouse.
Destiny was originally planned as the opening segment of the 1942 episode drama Flesh and Fantasy directed by Julien Duvivier. However, after some previews Universal Pictures decided to remove the opening segment. Not wanting to waste the footage 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. Duvivier's original episode was supposed to have ended tragically, but Universal insisted upon a few "framing" scenes wherein the refugee is shown to be innocent of the crimes for which he has been imprisoned, and which allowed a happy ending. Because the new footage had not only a different director but also a different cinematographer and art director, sharp-eyed viewers can easily tell the new scenes (which have the "flat" look of most of that era's Universal crime thrillers) from the Duvivier sequence, which is much more atmospheric and shadow-laden.
TV Guide's summary discussed the film's background, "It is surprising to realize when seen today that Destiny, with its fairy tale-like blending of beauty, mysticism, and horror, had few champions in its day. Nor did Gloria Jean--then a teenage soprano and deemed to be a threat to Universal's reigning songstress, Deanna Durbin--whose career soon after went into a steep decline. Oddly cast in Destiny was McDonald, the studio's top tap dancer, who not only did not dance in the film but did not even walk, playing her entire role behind the wheel of a car."