7.4/10
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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

This film is loosely based on the exploits of notorious Texas criminals Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. 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

Featured in Going Hollywood: The '30s (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
The Loyalist Gravida In Film History
3 December 2007 | by ferbs54See 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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