7.4/10
4,685
41 user 36 critic

You Only Live Once (1937)

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.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Gene Towne (screenplay), C. Graham Baker (screenplay) (as Graham Baker)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sylvia Sidney ... Joan Graham
Henry Fonda ... Eddie Taylor
Barton MacLane ... Stephen Whitney
Jean Dixon ... Bonnie Graham
William Gargan ... Father Dolan
Jerome Cowan ... Dr. Hill
Charles 'Chic' Sale ... Ethan (as Chic Sale)
Margaret Hamilton ... Hester
Warren Hymer ... Buggsy
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Roger (as Guinn Williams)
John Wray ... Warden Wheeler
Walter De Palma 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:

A terrifying drama of love and murder! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Time Loser See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walter Wanger Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriters Gene Towne and C. Graham Baker were notoriously eccentric, frequently working in bras and bathing suits, and sending memos written on toilet paper. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
depressing melodrama
22 September 2005 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Fritz Lang did a great job with this well-acted, uniquely photographed drama from the '30s. It's not anything to see if you're looking for a lift, though. Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney, so young it's unbelievable, play a husband and wife escaping the law. Sidney is a secretary who falls in love with a convict and marries him as soon as he gets out of prison. He's a three-time felon and has a tough time getting back into society. Ultimately, he's convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to death row. He escapes with Sidney and they become sort of a Bonnie and Clyde on the run for the Canadian border.

There are some plot problems, for instance, how Fonda got the gun in order to escape. Also, the boss at the trucking firm where he works is over the top in his dislike for Fonda and refuses to give him another chance.

The acting is very intense from both Sidney and Fonda. Looking at the young Fonda, one can really see where Jane got her looks. This isn't a big film, nor is it a happy one, but it's worth seeing.


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