7.4/10
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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:
...
Joan Graham
...
Eddie Taylor
...
Stephen Whitney
...
Bonnie Graham
...
Father Dolan
...
Doctor Hill
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
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  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A cast list with character names in the Fritz Lang papers at USC includes the following actors, none of whom were in the viewed print: John Beck, Harry Bernard, Dorothea Wolbert (People in post office), Walter Soderling (Man in teller's cage), Frank Hammond (Lounger in store) and Russ Powell (Sheriff in store). It is not known if scenes with these actors were shot at all, or just deleted from the released print. 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 Dillinger (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
The Loyalist Gravida In Film History
3 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In Fritz Lang's second American movie, 1937's "You Only Live Once" (not twice), Sylvia Sidney, aka "the Face of the Depression," plays what must be the loyalist girlfriend/wife in screen history. Her man, three-time loser Eddie Taylor (played by a pre-"Grapes" Henry Fonda), has just been released from prison, and wastes little time getting himself into all sorts of trouble again. But Sylvia is all forgiveness, and even takes it on the lam with him in her gravid condition, in one of Hollywood's earliest instances of criminal lovers on the lam...a genre that would later produce such classics as "They Live By Night" (1949), "Gun Crazy" (1949), "Badlands" (1973) and, of course, 1967's "Bonnie and Clyde." Although "You Only Live Once" creaks a bit here and there, I must say that this in one very involving film. Sidney and Fonda make a marvelous team, and it is nice to see Barton MacLane playing a nice guy for a change, instead of his usual growling bully. Lang's roots in German expressionism are evident here, as shown particularly in the design of Fonda's isolated prison cell, during a fog-enshrouded prison break, and in that final, heavenly shot. The film is a bit bleak and depressing, as decent characters fight futilely against their fates, but the filmmakers leave little doubt whose side they're on. And, to its credit, the film shows very vividly how dangerous it can be to give in to the temptation to purchase a pack of smokes! Oh...this DVD is in fair condition at best, revealing a damaged print source, and with zero extras to speak of. If ever a film warranted a restoration...


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