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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.

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:

He robbed... kidnapped... he murdered... Because of the love of one woman! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While his previous film "Fury (1936)"--his first American film--had gone down well with critics, the Hollywood brass were unsure what to make of Fritz Lang and his politicized films. To the rescue came his "Fury" star Sylvia Sidney, who loved working with him and urged her producer Walter Wanger to consider him for the directing job on this film. Ironically, Lang gained a reputation on this film for being difficult to work with, resulting in his not working for another 18 months. See more »

Quotes

Joan Graham: We may never find happiness
[says Joan during the escape]
Joan Graham: but we have the right to live.
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Connections

Edited into Plus Oh! (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Love and Prejudice, In a Tragic Melodrama
5 December 2007 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

Joan Graham (Sylvia Sidney) is the efficient secretary of a public defender Stephen Whitney (Barton MacLane) and is in love of the smalltime criminal Eddie Taylor (Henry Fonda). Her boss and friend Stephen helps Eddie to leave the prison on probation, Eddie promises to have a straight life and immediately get married with Joan. He finds a job as truck driver, but is unfairly fired on his first day. While trying to find another job, there is a heist in a bank with six victims and Eddie is accused. Joan convinces him to go to the court and prove his innocence, but based on circumstantial evidence and prejudice of the jury, Eddie is sentenced to the electric chair. On the night of his execution, the FBI finds the real criminal and Eddie grants an indulgence. However, Eddie is trying to escape from prison in a hostage situation, and kills his friend Father Dolan (William Gargan), who was trying to help him. Eddie meets Joan and together they try to reach the border and escape from justice.

"You Only Live Once" is the second American movie of Fritz Lang and a tragic melodrama. The depressive story of love and prejudice discloses a tough criticism to a very unfair, corrupt and hostile society, where losers do not have the chance to recover their dignity and common people are corrupt. The screenplay is visibly influenced by Bonnie and Clyde, who died on 23 May 1934, ambushed in their getaway car - therefore less than three years before the release date of this film. Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney show a great chemistry in good performances in this minor movie of this great director. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Vive-se Uma Só Vez" ("You Only Live Once")


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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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