Anthology film of 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. The third is about a man who literally meets the girl of his dreams.
Superstition... Director Julien Duvivier's 1943 anthology film tells three other worldly type tales. The first story is set at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and finds the plain and embittered Henrietta (Betty Field) choosing a mask that alters her life considerably. The second involves a psychic palm reader (Thomas Mitchell) who predicts that Marshall Tyler (Edward G. Robinson) will commit murder. The third segment is about a circus performer (Charles Boyer) who literally meets the girl (Barbara Stanwyck) of his troubled dreams. Though the title is a bit more grandiose than what is actually within the pic, this holds up as a very solid entry in the anthology splinter of classic era films. As is often the case, the stories differ in quality. Pic was originally to be a four pronged affair, but the original opening story was pulled and reworked into the feature film "Destiny", which was released the following year. This goes someway to explaining why the running order of Flesh and Fantasy feels unbalanced, a running order that sadly leaves us with the weakest segment as the closure. A constant throughout the tales is the look, the twin photographic talents of Stanley Cortez (The Night of the Hunter) and Paul Ivano (The Suspect) firmly capturing the ethereal nature of the fantastical premise of the stories. The Mardi Gras play is delightfully off kilter in vibe, very noirish in visuals and hauntingly tender in characterisation terms. The second palmistry influenced section exudes a shadowy menace, as the great Robinson is put through mirrored torment, the resolution more darker than the other two offerings. Finally the damp squib that is the closure fails to ignite, the high wire sequences the only excitement as an ill fated love story smoothers the tantalising dream based core. Good craft is mostly on show to make this well worth time invested for those who like such genre fare. 7/10