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Two bank robbers, Cliff Banks and Sam Baker go their separate ways while being chased by the law. Now fleeing alone, Cliff begins to reflect, via flash back, the various events and unsavory people in his life that lead to his life of crime. Cliff ends up in the idyllic rural town of Paradise Valley. Cliff discovers the local people are very trusting and decides the town would be the perfect place to pull a scam. He meets a farmer named Clem Broderick and his strange blind daughter Jane. Jane seems to have super natural powers; she can use a dowsing rod to find water, has ESP, and can control the forces of nature. However, despite all her powers, she is unable to read Cliff's mind and discover his plan to steal the Broderick farm out from under them. However, when Jane discovers what the stranger is up to, she invokes a vision in which Cliff is terrorized by the forces of nature and drowns in the river. Cliff, now shaken, vows to reform, and in the process save Clems life when he is ... Written by
Jim Riecken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the 1940s, someone at Universal was obsessed with using the title "Destiny". It was the original title for "The Wolf Man". It was also supposedly an alternate title for "Son of Dracula". It then became the title for an episode in the anthology "Flesh and Fantasy", until the story proved too long so it was dropped for that film. The story was then taken and expanded and that's the version we get for a neat little noir-ish thriller.
It's one of those interesting forgotten films that is much better than you would anticipate. Alan Curtis does a great job as the handsome ex-con named Cliff Banks, who has more bad luck than an early 21st century democrat. He struggles with trusting people because each time he has, he's ended up being screwed. He finally stumbles upon a blind woman, Jane (a delightful Gloria Jean), and her father Clem (the always-dependable Frank Craven), who show him the good and generous side of human beings.
"Destiny" is a little uneven and top-heavy with early flashbacks. It gains tremendously with a very dark, key sequence in the end that is genuinely brutal and that literally scares Cliff straight. As a whole, the film does a great job of depicting innocence and how an innocent and good man can be forced to be dis-trusting of people, though he doesn't really want to be. The film is imaginative and the characters are interesting and the film can be viewed as a companion piece to its brother in fantasy, "Flesh and Fantasy". Tough to find, but rewarding. Another hit by Universal.
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