7.4/10
4,445
41 user 36 critic

You Only Live Once (1937)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 January 1937 (USA)
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:
...
...
...
...
Bonnie Graham
...
...
Dr. Hill
...
Ethan (as Chic Sale)
...
Hester
...
Buggsy
...
Roger (as Guinn Williams)
...
Warden Wheeler
Walter De Palma ...
Monk Mendall
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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:

Here's stark, spell-binding drama...raw, human, fervent...speaking right out -- pulling no punches...a dramatic thunderbolt that will shock you right out of your smugness! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Time Loser  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$575,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 29, 1945 with Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney reprising their film roles. See more »

Quotes

Joan Graham: Anywhere's our home. On the road. Out there on a cold star. Anywhere's our home.
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Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une vague nouvelle (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

A Thousand Dreams of You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Alter
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User Reviews

 
Bleak film for its time with fine direction.
21 September 2006 | by 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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