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You Only Live Once (1937)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  29 January 1937 (USA)
7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,449 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 27 critic

The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Graham Baker)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joan Graham
...
Eddie Taylor
...
Stephen Whitney
Jean Dixon ...
Bonnie Graham
William Gargan ...
Father Dolan
Jerome Cowan ...
Doctor Hill
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
Ethan (as Chic Sale)
...
Hester
Warren Hymer ...
Buggsy
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ...
Roger (as Guinn Williams)
...
Warden Wheeler
Walter De Palma ...
Monk Mendall
Edit

Storyline

Joan is the secretary to the public defender in a large city. She is in love with a career criminal named Eddie, and she believes that he is a basically good person who just had some tough breaks. She uses her influence to get him released early, and he tries to go straight after marrying her, but things don't work out, and they both go on the lam. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@eworld.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He robbed... kidnapped... he murdered... Because of the love of one woman!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Time Loser  »

Box Office

Budget:

$575,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

PCA director Joseph Breen objected to the robbery scene details which were against the production code. Specifically, he listed "no flash of a man's face contorted with agony, no showing of a woman lying on the sidewalk, no hurling of bombs, no cop lying on the street, his face contorted with pain, no truck crushing out the life of a cop, no terrible screaming, no shots of bodies lying around, no figure of a little girl huddled in death, no shrieks." The print received by the PCA ran 100 minutes, and it is clear from the released print that some of these items and other scenes were cut, and the PCA finally gave it an approved certificate. See more »

Goofs

At c.77 minutes Bonnie exclaims "She's cute!" as she looks at Joan's baby. But only moments before Bonnie was told that the baby is a boy. See more »

Quotes

Joan Graham: We may never find happiness
[says Joan during the escape]
Joan Graham: but we have the right to live.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une vague nouvelle (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

A Thousand Dreams of You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Alter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bleak film for its time with fine direction.
21 September 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Upon release from prison an ex-con (Henry Fonda) tries to go straight and start a decent life with his new wife (Sylvia Sidney). However, he is sacked by his former employer and increasingly desperate considers returning to a life of crime.

An impressive film with excellent direction by Fritz Lang who brings his unusual camera angles to bear on a bleak story. The film is said to be somewhat inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, but more than anything is an interesting exploration of how fate and circumstance can lead to disaster and tragedy. Moving at a crisp pace the film delivers plenty of suspense and surprises as Fonda is framed for murder not long after his release and, interestingly not long after he is fired, threatens to return to his miscreant ways. This keeps the viewer guessing as to whether Fonda's proclamations of innocence are true when he is arrested. The film is quite bleak for its time and contains quite an uncharacteristic performance from Fonda as a man desperate and disgusted by the callous treatment given him by society. Fonda doesn't entirely convince, but the film is still very good.


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