Flesh and Fantasy
Director Julien Duvivier
Music director Alexandre Tansman
Country United States
Genre Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Screenplay Samuel Hoffenstein
|Writer Oscar Wilde, Laszlo Vadnay, Ernest Pascal, Samuel Hoffenstein|
Release date October 29, 1943
Cast Robert Benchley (Doakes (framing story)), Betty Field (Henrietta (Episode 1)), Robert Cummings (Michael (Episode 1)), Edgar Barrier (Stranger in Mask Shop (Episode 1)), Edward G. Robinson (Marshall Tyler (Episode 2)), Thomas Mitchell (Septimus Podgers (Episode 2))
Similar movies Tales from the Darkside, Films Confiscated from a French Brothel, Some Other Stories, Sunday Lovers, L'Amore, Creepshow 2
Two members of a gentlemens club tell three tales of the supernatural. In New Orleans, homely Henrietta (Betty Field) uses a beautiful mask to attract kindhearted law student Michael (Robert Cummings) at a Mardi Gras ball. In London, a palm reader (Thomas Mitchell) tells visiting American lawyer Marshall (Edward G. Robinson) that hes fated to commit murder. Aboard an ocean liner, tightrope walker Paul (Charles Boyer) meets a mysterious woman he has seen before in his dreams.
Flesh and Fantasy is a 1943 American anthology film directed by Julien Duvivier, starring Edward G. Robinson, Charles Boyer and Barbara Stanwyck. The making of this film was inspired by the success of Duviviers previous anthology film, the 1942 Tales of Manhattan. Flesh and Fantasy tells three stories, unrelated but with a supernatural theme, by Oscar Wilde,and Laszlo Vadnay, among others. Tying together the three segments is a conversation about the occult between two clubmen, one played by humorist Robert Benchley.
Director Julien Duvivier's 1943 anthology film tells three tales of the supernatural. The first story is set at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the second involves a psychic who predicts murder, and the third is about a man who literally meets the girl of his dreams. The large cast includes Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Boyer, Betty Field, Robert Cummings, Robert Benchley, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Winninger, Dame May Whitty, Anna Lee, C. Aubrey Smith, Ian Wolfe and Marjorie Lord.
First segment The setting is New Orleans. Plain and embittered Henrietta (Betty Field) secretly loves law student Michael (Robert Cummings). On Mardi Gras night, a mysterious stranger (Edgar Barrier) gives her a white mask of beauty that she must return at midnight. At a party, Michael falls in love with Henrietta but has yet to see her face under the mask. Henrietta encourages Michael to follow a better life although it may mean losing him forever. Henrietta removes the mask at midnight discovering she is now beautiful and that her old, selfish attitude was really the cause of her ugliness.
Second segment The second story is based on Oscar Wildes short story Lord Arthur Saviles Crime. A palmist named Podgers (Thomas Mitchell) is making uncannily accurate predictions at a party for the rich and bored. He tells skeptical lawyer Marshall Tyler (Edward G. Robinson) to avoid a certain street intersection on the way home. The palmist also acts as if he sees more in his hand but does not admit it. Tyler eschews the advice and almost gets shot during a police chase at the intersection. Tyler goes to the palmistâ€™s home. Under pressure, the palmist admits that he saw that Tyler is going to kill someone.
The notion obsesses Tyler, who decides that he must kill someone, anyone, just to get it over with. He comes close to killing two people but is unable to do so. He finally meets Podgers by accident on a bridge one night, and blaming Podgers for his problem, strangles him to death in a rage. Trying to escape, Tyler is hit by a car. The accident is witnessed by the Great Gaspar (Charles Boyer), a high-wire artist, and it leads without pause into the third segment of the film.
Third segment High-wire artist the Great Gaspar is haunted by dreams of falling, and in each dream of doom encounters a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) he has never met. These dreams affect his performance as he backs down from the most dangerous stunt, jumping from one wire to another. Eventually he meets his dream girl, who has serious troubles of her own. Gaspar later decides that he will not let his bad dreams affect him and that his life is his own. He performs the stunt successfully, not knowing that the woman that he has now fallen in love with is about to be arrested.
As originally filmed and edited, the feature began with a half-hour sequence concerning an escaped killer (Alan Curtis) who finds refuge with a farmer (Frank Craven) and his blind daughter (Gloria Jean). This sequence ended with a spectacular storm scene, staged by director Duvivier and photographer Paul Ivano, in which the enraged killer races after the blind girl. The forces of nature spare the girl but strike down the killer. The preview audience raved about this scene, but Universal removed it and shelved it. (The very end of the deleted scene survives in the final print: the killers body washes up on shore.) To replace the missing footage the studio connected the remaining three segments with new footage of humorist Robert Benchley.
Not wanting to waste the Jean-Curtis footage Universal hired screenwriter Roy Chanslor to come up with additional material and Reginald LeBorg to direct a few new scenes, so that the segment could be released as a separate feature film. The studio insisted upon "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. The completed film was finally released in 1944 as Destiny.
ReferencesFlesh and Fantasy Wikipedia
Flesh and Fantasy IMDb Flesh and Fantasy themoviedb.org