16 user 6 critic

Dust Be My Destiny (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 16 September 1939 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »


Lewis Seiler


Robert Rossen (screenplay), Jerome Odlum (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Garfield ... Joe Bell
Priscilla Lane ... Mabel Alden
Alan Hale ... Mike Leonard
Frank McHugh ... Caruthers
Billy Halop ... Hank Glenn
Bobby Jordan ... Jimmy Glenn
Charley Grapewin ... Pop
Henry Armetta ... Nick
Stanley Ridges ... Charlie Garrett
John Litel ... Prosecutor
Moroni Olsen ... Slim Jones - Defense Attorney
Victor Kilian ... Doc Saunders
Frank Jaquet ... Abe Connors
Ferike Boros ... Delicatessen Proprietress
Marc Lawrence ... Venetti


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 heart. Joe and Mabel go on the run as he thinks no-one would believe a nobody like him. Written by Ian Harries <ih@doc.ic.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cruel é o Meu Destino See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Tucson Sunday 16 September 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9); it first aired in Los Angeles Monday 1 October 1956 on KNXT (Channel 2), in Cincinnati Friday 9 November 1956 on WKRC (Channel 12), in Portland OR Monday 17 December 1956 on KLOR (Channel 12), in Wichita Tuesday 1 January 1957 on KAKE (Channel 10), in Bloomington IN Wednesday 23 January 1957 on WTTV (Channel 4), and in Chicago Sunday 24 March 1957 on WGN (Channel 9). See more »


In the trial the defence attorney apparently calls all his witnesses, then makes a speech to the jury, then calls a final witness. An attorney has to wait until all the witnesses have testified before making a speech. See more »


References Nancy Drew... Reporter (1939) See more »


In a Moment of Weakness
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Mabel shows Joe the ring after the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

They Still Made Me a Criminal
17 May 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

After serving time for a crime he didn't commit, rowdy and rebellious John Garfield (as Joe Bell) is released from prison early. But, it wasn't for good behavior; the real burglar was caught in a hold-up. With no resources, Mr. Garfield hooks up with "Dead End" kid Billy Halop (as Hank Glenn) and his fifteen-year-old brother Bobby Jordan (as Jimmy). On the east coast, the three ride the rails as tramps, but get in trouble with the law; they receive brief sentences on the county work farm.

Assigned to milk cows, Garfield meets pretty Priscilla Lane from "Four Daughters" (1938) in the barn. She is the step-child of drunken foreman Stanley Ridges (as Charlie Garreth). Due to a bad heart, Mr. Ridges kicks the bucket during a fight with Garfield, after the former finds the latter lounging by the hay with Ms. Lane. Naturally, the authorities mistakenly believe Garfield committed murder. He and Lane go on the run. Good Samaritans help the hungry couple, but the law closes in...

This social consciousness drama is episodic to a fault, with some confusing transitions. The first occurs when Garfield is suddenly seen with two of the "Dead End Kids" from "They Made Me a Criminal" (1939). Obviously, the studio meant to evoke earlier films. Helpful Alan Hale (as Mike Leonard) and the Warner Bros. cast and crew go through the familiar motions. Everyone does their job well enough, but it just doesn't rise to the level of the studio's better work in the genre.

***** Dust Be My Destiny (9/16/39) Lewis Seiler ~ John Garfield, Priscilla Lane, Alan Hale, Billy Halop

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