7.4/10
4,172
41 user 31 critic

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:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Graham Baker)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

You and Me (1938)
Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, George Raft, Robert Cummings
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the Mob for his murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Liliom (1934)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two women love the same man in a world of few prospects. In Budapest, Liliom is a "public figure," a rascal who's a carousel barker, loved by the experienced merry-go-round owner and by a ... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Charles Boyer, Madeleine Ozeray, Robert Arnoux
Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
Adventure | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In WW2, the Allies race against time to persuade two nuclear scientists working for the Germans to switch sides.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Gary Cooper, Robert Alda, Lilli Palmer
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a conservative middle-aged professor engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale, he is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey
Crime | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Frank James continues to avoid arrest in order to take revenge on the Ford brothers for their murder of his brother Jesse.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Jackie Cooper
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A deranged writer murders a maid after she resists his advances. The writer engages his brother's help in hiding the body, and then watches as the brother becomes the prime suspect.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt
Western Union (1941)
History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Edward Creighton leads the construction of the Western Union to unite East with West, he hires a Western reformed outlaw and a tenderfoot Eastern surveyor.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Robert Young, Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is loosely based on the exploits of West Dallas 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

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une vague nouvelle (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Eddie and Joan were two good looking people…
14 June 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

You Only Live Once is directed by Fritz Lang and written by C. Graham Baker and Gene Towne. It stars Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane, Jean Dixon and William Gargan. Music is by Alfred Newman and cinematography by Leon Shamroy.

He has been pounding on the door of that execution chamber since the day he was born.

One of Fritz Lang's first American productions is a cracker-jack proto- noir, a leading light (darkly shaded of course) in the sub-genre of fugitive lovers on the lam pictures. Story leans on the legend of Bonnie and Clyde and finds Fonda as three times jailbird Eddie Taylor. After strings are pulled and promises made, Eddie gets released into the arms of his adoring gal, Jo Graham (Sidney). Determined to go straight and settle down with Jo, Eddie finds a society not ready to forgive and forget, worst still, he's old comrades in criminal arms have cooked something up and it's not going to be good news for Eddie. Cue the Romeo & Juliet factor as two lovers love each other so much they will stop at nothing to be together and to try and make the other one happy.

Lang brings his expressionistic bent to the tragi noir tale, drifting fogs, mists and spider web shadows across key scenes. Canted angles feature, reflections in a psychological eye also play their part, while the protection of animals theme – and the continuing frog motif - further strengthens the otherworldly – cum - nightmarish aura that so often permeated Lang's movies. The action scenes are deftly marshalled by the director, with a smoke grenade led robbery and a prison escape particularly worthy of luring you to the end of your seat.

Lang also gets fine performances from his lead actors, Sidney is not done too many favours by the screenplay, where she is saddled with one of those compliant love interest roles, but she brings a quality to her scenes with Fonda that earns respect. Fonda is great in what is a two- fold role, shifting skilfully between a tender lover to an embittered man, he's a triumphant fulcrum for all the various strands that Lang is weaving together. It has been argued that it's a film that's too morally grey, but as film noir lovers will tell you, this is no bad thing, especially when Lang marries up his superb visuals with alienation, fatalism and pessimism.

Historically important to film noir and Lang fans, You Only Live Once is an ambiguous gem. 9/10


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?