Flight from Destiny (1941)

73 mins | Drama | 8 February 1941

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writer:

Barry Trivers

Cinematographer:

James Van Trees

Editor:

Thomas Richards

Production Designer:

Esdras Hartley

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Invitation to a Murder and Trial and Error ... More Less

The film's working titles were Invitation to a Murder and Trial and Error . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Jan 1941.
---
Daily Variety
26 Dec 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jan 41
p. 7.
Film Daily
2 Apr 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 40
p. 1, 3
Motion Picture Herald
28 Dec 1940.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Mar 41
p. 76.
New York Times
28 Mar 41
p. 26.
Variety
1 Jan 41
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch arr
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Trial and Error by Anthony Berkeley (New York, 1937).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Trial and Error
Invitation to a Murder
Release Date:
8 February 1941
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 25 December 1940
Production Date:
late September--early November 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 February 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10241
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When philosophy professor Henry Todhunter learns he has only six months to live, he polls the members of the University Club to learn what they would do in a similar situation. Each man has a different answer, but Henry's interest is piqued when one suggests murdering a person who is a menace to society. Henry discusses the idea with his doctor, Lawrence Stevens. Although Larry argues that no man is entitled to act as judge and jury, Henry believes that a man facing death possesses the immortality to act without self interest for the benefit of society as a whole. Henry's friend, Betty Farroway, who is waiting for him when he returns home, is concerned because her husband Michael, an artist, is acting strangely. Henry agrees to talk to Michael and accompanies Betty home in a taxi. Stuck in traffic, Henry and Betty see Michael kiss Ketti Moret in front of her gallery. The next day, Henry asks Ketti to stop interfering with Michael's life, and she replies that her only interest is in his work. Later Michael is hit by a car and while semi-conscious begs Betty to destroy a painting. Intrigued, Henry and Betty explore Michael's studio, where they find a painting done in the style of an ancient painter. Henry realizes that Michael has been forging paintings for Ketti, and believing that in Ketti he has met a truly evil person, investigates her life. He learns that no one, not even her abandoned child, her mother, or her former husband cares if Ketti lives or dies. Michael admits painting the fakes and Henry suggests that he ask ... +


When philosophy professor Henry Todhunter learns he has only six months to live, he polls the members of the University Club to learn what they would do in a similar situation. Each man has a different answer, but Henry's interest is piqued when one suggests murdering a person who is a menace to society. Henry discusses the idea with his doctor, Lawrence Stevens. Although Larry argues that no man is entitled to act as judge and jury, Henry believes that a man facing death possesses the immortality to act without self interest for the benefit of society as a whole. Henry's friend, Betty Farroway, who is waiting for him when he returns home, is concerned because her husband Michael, an artist, is acting strangely. Henry agrees to talk to Michael and accompanies Betty home in a taxi. Stuck in traffic, Henry and Betty see Michael kiss Ketti Moret in front of her gallery. The next day, Henry asks Ketti to stop interfering with Michael's life, and she replies that her only interest is in his work. Later Michael is hit by a car and while semi-conscious begs Betty to destroy a painting. Intrigued, Henry and Betty explore Michael's studio, where they find a painting done in the style of an ancient painter. Henry realizes that Michael has been forging paintings for Ketti, and believing that in Ketti he has met a truly evil person, investigates her life. He learns that no one, not even her abandoned child, her mother, or her former husband cares if Ketti lives or dies. Michael admits painting the fakes and Henry suggests that he ask Ketti to reveal the real painter to the person who bought the counterfeit painting. When she refuses, Michael threatens to kill her and is overheard by Ketti's maid. After Michael leaves, Henry emerges from his hiding place in Ketti's apartment and kills the unremorseful woman. Henry's plans go awry when Michael is arrested for the murder. Henry immediately confesses, but at first, no one believes his story. Eventually, he convinces Larry to testify to their conversation on the subject of murder, and is soon convicted and sentenced to death. Henry plans to exert himself enough to cause a fatal heart attack and thus avoid the electric chair, but when one of his former students is brought to jail after having been inspired to murder by Henry's example, he realizes the damage that he has done and accepts his punishment as just. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.