The facts were mostly in evidence, save for a strange claim that the film DESTINY, ripped from FLESH & FANTASY and expanded into a B-film in its own right by Reginald LeBorg (a name that is neither an alias nor an anagram for Julien Duvivier) represents how the famed French director "intended" the film to be. "We're putting the film together at last," Eddie was quoted.
As there's no evidence that Duvivier was at all involved with his portion of DESTINY after its excision, it's a bit of a stretch to conclude that his wishes were incorporated, or even heeded, by Universal. Indeed, his actual intention was for the episode to appear in what would be a 122-minute version of FLESH AND FANTASY. (As always, it's a shame that the studios weren't interested enough in the work of their top-flight directors to retain a copy of the original cut...now THAT would be something truly noteworthy.)
So the problem is that such a pairing is more sleight-of-hand than some kind of aesthetic innovation--more of an historical oddity than anything else. It should be noted that the two films will play twice on Sunday, and the pointed quote in the preview is probably intended mostly to shore up what might be a soft spot in the schedule that was mandated by the decision to employ strict chronological order in presenting the films.
One thing is for certain: Duvivier is not around to set the record straight.
Meanwhile, the quality rating for the films showing (beginning this Friday) has been calculated relative to those compiled for previous NC festivals. NC 16 grades out at about 8% below the historical quality average of the festival. Its lowest scores are in the "top-notch film" category (films that grade at 85 or higher), 34% below the average and ahead of only NC 11 in that measure.
It has the highest score in the "good-very good" group, however--tied with last year's festival--and avoids the "mediocre-to-why-are-they screening-this" category that plagued NC1 (caused by the SF noir theme) and NC 8-11 (heavy on films graded 74 or lower). The festival's "quality shape" most resembles in NC 9, a festival that was unusually laden with 40s melodramas about people in questionable mental health (19 of 24 in that time frame, or just under 80%).
Last year's festival, with its "in heist we trust" theme, replayed several acknowledged masterpieces and unearthed some excellent films from other countries and outside the time frame of classic noir. This year the closest to masterpiece we get is with SHADOW OF A DOUBT and THE BIG HEAT--close, but not quite. YMMV, but for us these grade out in the 90-94 range--excellent, but not quite exceptional.
FLESH AND FANTASY grades at 87; DESTINY at 73. As one reviewer noted, the jungle chase scene in DESTINY is of a piece with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and ORPHEUS, but the rest of the film...
We certainly hope those who attend will have a great time.