An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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...
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this