Flesh and Fantasy (1943)

Article #651 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-26-2002
Posting Date: 5-21-2003

A man finds himself in a quandary after a fortune teller makes one prediction for him and his dreams make the opposite prediction, so a friend tries to help him by telling him three stories about precognizance.

This is the anthology from which the story that became the movie DESTINY (1944) was taken. The first story, about an ugly woman in love with a student wearing the mask of a beautiful woman during Mardi Gras is the weakest, with a fairly obvious ending and the annoying habit of pounding the viewer on the head with the meaning of the story. Thankfully, the other two stories, one of which deals with a man who is told by a palm reader that he will commit murder and the other about a tightrope walker who dreams he will have a fatal accident, are much better. I particularly like the one with about the fortune teller, as it features Edward G. Robinson, one of my favorite actors, but there are other familiar faces in these last two stories, such as Dame May Whitty, C. Aubrey Smith, Thomas Mitchell (instantly recognizable as the palm reader), Charles Boyer (as the tightrope walker) and Barbara Stanwyck. The second story has an almost dark and subtle humor to it, while the final story definitely takes some unexpected but satisfying twists. All in all, a solid anthology movie; it’s not as good as DEAD OF NIGHT, as the framing story is nowhere near as engaging as the one for that movie, but it is amusing enough and features Robert Benchley.



  1. I disagree wholeheartedly that the first sequence is “the weakest.” It is stunningly atmospheric, and Field was such a great actress. The idea that we ALL hide behind masks (Marti Gras, or not) is powerful and the ending, while predictable, is quite touching. The weakest is the LAST – a totally meandering story that goes on forever, yet goes nowhere. Stanwyck and Boyer are its only assets, and the only reason to stick through to the end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s