Destiny (1944 film)

Destiny is a 1944 American drama film noir directed by Reginald Le Borg and starring Gloria Jean, Grace McDonald, Alan Curtis and Frank Craven.[1]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byReginald Le Borg
Julien Duvivier (uncredited)
Produced byRoy William Neill
Howard Benedict (uncredited)
Screenplay byRoy Chanslor
Ernest Pascal
Story byJean Levy-Strauss
StarringGloria Jean
Alan Curtis
Frank Craven
Music byFrank Skinner
Alexandre Tansman
CinematographyPaul Ivano
George Robinson
Edited byPaul Landres
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 22, 1944 (1944-12-22) (United States)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States


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.[2] 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.


Critical response

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."[3]

See also


  1. Destiny at the TCM Movie Database.
  2. Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas. Universal Horrors: The Studios Classic Films, 1931-1946, 2007. Jefferson, NC: Mcfarland & Co Inc. ISBN 978-0786429745, pp. 463-468.
  3. TV Guide. Staff film review. Accessed: July 25, 2013.
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