Dust Be My Destiny (1939)

John Garfield, Priscilla Lane, Alan Hale, Frank McHugh,
Embittered after serving time for a burglary he did not commit, Joe Bell is soon back in jail, on a prison farm. His love for the foreman's daughter leads to a fight between them, leading to the older man's death due to a weak hea...
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Robert Rossen, Jerome Odlum, Seton I. Miller, Writer:
  • Lewis Seiler, Director:
  • Producer:
9 / 10

For fans of the leads this is great

John Garfield and Priscilla Lane always made a good team and this is one of their best pictures. Being a Warners film the subject of a young couple in love and on the run is given the gritty treatment that suits the story and the pair do very well in conveying the hardships faced. The wedding scene is particularly well played by both. As with most of the studios films at the time it looks at the problem through the lens of current events and society's ills. Not a timeless classic like Priscilla's Saboteur or Garfield's The Postman Always Rings Twice but a solid film with excellent work by the stars as well as the supporting cast.

10 / 10

A Great Little Picture w/ The Great John Garfield at his best!

Poor Joe Bell, the typical anti-establishment loser stereotype role that John Garfield made famous. With the beautiful Priscilla Lane as he girl and the fabuous Warner contract players including the great Allan Hale Sr, the film although predictable, is still a classic of the torn, raw emotions of young love and fighting for vindication against being wrongfully accused of a crime he didn't commit. I have always liked Garfield, especially during the 1948 Senate whitchunt for communists. Garfield wouldn't talk and was blacklisted. This same attitude personified his conviction for the roles he played in most of his films except Humerques. The film contains a haunting melody that is sung on a phonograph record " Dust Be My Destiny" It really sets the theme for the emmotions of both Garfield and Lane that if they can't get a break in their life they might as well be dead! The melody for the tune plays throughout the picture and is aranged and directed by the great Max Steiner. The next time it plays on TCM, do yourself a favor and watch it with a friend!!

7 / 10

John Garfield's excellent performance raises this often used theme, that of an innocent fugitive, a notch or two above average.

You can see why John Garfield rocketed to stardom just from watching this film: he has a tough but charismatic demeanor and is a natural born actor. He plays an embittered, cynical and distrustful youth, who is released from prison at the start, being told he was wrongly convicted when the real culprit was caught and confessed. He vows that he will never again trust authorities. He lands in a state work farm because of vagrancy and meets Priscilla Lane, the stepdaughter of the yard boss (Stanley Ridges) and they fall in love. But they are caught in an embrace by Ridges, who slaps Lane, incensing Garfield enough to hit Ridges, who dies of a heart attack due to his poor health caused by alcoholism. They flee and feel safe over the border but are almost penniless, so they take advantage of a promotion at a movie theater and get married on stage free of charge with lots of bonuses, despite it being a humiliating experience for both. Then they hear Ridges' death is considered a murder and they are wanted fugitives. Lane wants to turn themselves in, but Garfield will have none of that, and she sticks by him. Eluding police, they are given a job by kindly diner owner, Henry Armetta, who even helps them escape when Lane is caught and Garfield breaks her out of jail. This was an exciting nail-biting sequence. Garfield then lucks out when he is at the right place at the right time: he photographs details of a bank robbery in progress and gets a job as photographer with a newspaper. Because of these sensational photos and the fame it was sure to bring, Garfield was again threatened with being exposed as the wanted fugititve. This film is worth seeing for Garfield's performance, but Henry Armetta and Alan Hale are both excellent, and there's an enjoyable Max Steiner score. For those who are interested in credit abberations, Victor Kilian and Frank Jaquet are both in the onscreen cast credits but were edited out of the film. I've seen this happen occasionally for one performer in movies of the 1930's, but this is the only time I can remember it occurred for two.

7 / 10

Stands the Test of Time

Optimism and hope versus cynicism and despair. Depression era tale of a wrongly accused ex-con taking on a society that never seems to give a guy an even break. Although he is given quite a few, fate intervenes and knocks him off his feet.

Broke and running (once again) from a crime he did not commit, this time he has a companion (guardian angel) that understands him and guides, then forces, the troubled soul on a path of belonging to a world that can offer peace and a place to hang their hats.

A very good, if typical, movie that during the depression was a fitting try at uplifting the downtrodden. An idealistic, progressive endeavor from a studio that could deliver a message and a Star that epitomized method acting before there was method acting.

Although at times a bit over written and assuming it is a time capsule that stands the test.

9 / 10

John Garfield and Priscilla Lane

Down on his luck John Garfield finally sees his fortunes improve, and I do mean improve, when he teams up with Priscilla Lane. But the bad luck returns and the two end up on the lam for what turns out to be a pretty good movie.

A few scenes shot on location spice things up a bit and there are some very nice supporting performances as well.

The lead actors, John Garfield and the beautiful Priscilla Lane, work well together, as evidenced in their previous work on Four Daughters and Daughters Courageous.