Dust Be My Destiny

Dust Be My Destiny is a 1939 American drama film starring John Garfield as a man who gets into trouble after being sentenced to a work farm.

Dust Be My Destiny
Directed byLewis Seiler
Produced byHal B. Wallis (exec. producer)
Louis F. Edelman (assoc. producer)
Written byJerome Odlum (novel)
Robert Rossen
Seton I. Miller (uncredited)
StarringJohn Garfield
Priscilla Lane
Alan Hale
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 16, 1939 (1939-09-16)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States


Joe Bell (John Garfield) becomes embittered after he is jailed for 16 months for something he did not do. Later, he gets into a fight with a crook (played by an uncredited Ward Bond) and is sentenced to a work farm for 90 days. There, he becomes friends with Mabel Alden (Priscilla Lane), which displeases Charles Garreth (Stanley Ridges), her stepfather and the farm's foreman. The two men fight, and Joe knocks Garreth out. Panicking, the young couple flee and get married, only to learn that Garreth has died and that Joe is wanted for his murder.

Constantly on the move to avoid capture, Joe finally gets a break. He is in the right spot to take pictures of a bank robbery in progress. He uses them to get a job as a photographer at a newspaper run by Mike Leonard (Alan Hale). When the leader of the outfit tries to get the negatives, Joe saves Mike's life. Unfortunately, his own picture is put on the front page of various newspapers as a result. Joe tries to flee once more, but Mabel turns him in to the police, convinced that running away is the wrong thing to do.

At the trial, despite a parade of character witnesses in Joe's favor, the prosecutor (John Litel) seems to have the upper hand. Defense attorney Slim Jones (Moroni Olsen) calls Mabel to the stand. She convinces the jury to declare her husband innocent.


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