Not one day. Not one hour. Not one breath!! A young couple (Walter Janssen and Lil Dagover) give a man a ride into town. Little do they know that the man is Death (Bernhard Goetzke). In town Death leases a piece of land next to the cemetery. He builds a high wall around is that appears to have no door. He then sees the young couple again at the local tavern. When the woman is out of the room the young man disappears. When she returns the woman frantically looks for her fiancé. At the giant wall she sees his spirit pass through and knows he is dead. She confronts death. Death tells her that he is required to take whoever God tells him to. He shows her a room full of candles. When their candle flickers out, he takes whoever the candle represents. The woman tells him that she believes love is stronger than death. He shows her three candles whose lights are flickering. He tells the woman that if she can save one of the lives represented by the candles with love, he will return her lover to her.

The First Light: The Caliph’s sister, Zobeide (Lil Dagover) is in love with an infidel (Walter Janssen). They meet in secret but their relationship is discovered. When Zobeide tries to meet with her lover again the Caliph (Edward von Winterstein) catches him and has him buried alive.

The Second Light: In Venice, Monna Fiametta (Lil Dagover) is engaged to Girolamo (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) but is in love with Giovan Francesco (Walter Janssen). Jealous Girolamo hatches a plot to do away with his rival. Monna plans on killing Girolamo but things don’t work out as she planned.

The Third Light: A Hi (Paul Biensfeldt) is a Chinese magician. The emperor (Karoly Huszar) orders him to perform for his birthday party. A Hi arrives on a magic carpet with his assistants Tiao Tsien (Lil Dagover) and Liang (Walter Janssen). Tiao Tsien and Liang are lovers. The emperor falls in love with Tiao Tsien and wants to keep her. When Tiao Tsien and Liang try to escape Liang is eventually killed.

Death has won but Death takes pity on the woman and gives her another chance to bring her fiancé back to the living.

“Destiny” AKA “Der Mude Tod” AKA “Der Mude Tod: ein deutsches Volkslied in sechs Versen” or “Weary Death: A German Folk Story in Six Verses” was released in 1921 and was directed by Fritz Lang. It is a German silent Fantasy horror drama and technically an omnibus portmanteau anthology. The movie was originally released as “Behind the Wall” in the U.S. The film was inspired by the Indian folktale “Sati Savitri”. At one time the intertitles were believed to be lost. As usual the Cinemateque Francaise had them. The film was restored and in 2016 was released by Kino.

The film didn’t do well in Germany. They believed the film wasn’t German enough. It was, however, well received in France which then made Germany take more interest in the film. The French know a good expressionistic film when they see it. This is one of them. There are some really nice special effects here, especially when you consider that the movie is now over a hundred years old.

There is a lot of symbolism in the film and all of it applies when you analyze the film as a great work of art. In addition to that the movie is just interesting and enjoyable to watch. Add to that the fact that it is an anthology when the concept on film was in its infancy and you have a tale that not only entertains but that advances cinema into another realm.