Destiny (German: Der müde Tod, "Weary Death"; originally released in the US as Behind the Wall) is a 1921 silent film directed in Germany by Fritz Lang. The film, rich in special effects, is structured as a frame tale with three stories within the story.


Destiny (1921 film)

In the Expressionistic frame story, in which human lives are each represented by a candle, Death grants a woman three chances to save her lover, if love can triumph over death. The three stories within the story each occur in a setting that is nominally historic, but really in the realm of fantasy: an adventure tale with a Persian setting out of the Arabian Nights, a Renaissance Venetian romance, and a largely comic story set in China.


In Germany, the film was poorly received at first, with critics complaining that it was not 'German' enough, but the film was much more successful overseas. Douglas Fairbanks purchased the American rights, to delay its general American release while he copied the effects of the Persian segment for his 1924 The Thief of Baghdad. [1]


Destiny (1921 film)

The film was highly influential, most notably in helping persuade Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel of the promise of the medium.



  • Hardy, Phil, ed. (1995), The Overlook Film Encyclopedia 3, Overlook Press, ISBN 0-87951-624-0 

External links

  • Destiny at the Internet Movie Database
  • Destiny at AllMovie
  • Destiny at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Der müde Tod on SilentEra.com.

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