You Only Live Once (1937)

You Only Live Once (1937)

Sylvia SidneyHenry FondaBarton MacLaneJean Dixon
Fritz Lang


You Only Live Once (1937) is a English movie. Fritz Lang has directed this movie. Sylvia Sidney,Henry Fonda,Barton MacLane,Jean Dixon are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1937. You Only Live Once (1937) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Film-Noir movie in India and around the world.

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.


You Only Live Once (1937) Reviews

  • Bleak film for its time with fine direction.


    Upon release from prison an ex-con (Henry Fonda) tries to go straight and start a decent life with his new wife (Sylvia Sidney). However, he is sacked by his former employer and increasingly desperate considers returning to a life of crime. An impressive film with excellent direction by Fritz Lang who brings his unusual camera angles to bear on a bleak story. The film is said to be somewhat inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, but more than anything is an interesting exploration of how fate and circumstance can lead to disaster and tragedy. Moving at a crisp pace the film delivers plenty of suspense and surprises as Fonda is framed for murder not long after his release and, interestingly not long after he is fired, threatens to return to his miscreant ways. This keeps the viewer guessing as to whether Fonda's proclamations of innocence are true when he is arrested. The film is quite bleak for its time and contains quite an uncharacteristic performance from Fonda as a man desperate and disgusted by the callous treatment given him by society. Fonda doesn't entirely convince, but the film is still very good.

  • Now,you are free ,Eddie!


    That was Fritz Lang's second American movie and it equaled his excellent debut "Fury".Both feature an innocent man,both make a criminal (in a very special way in the 1936 work) of an innocent man.Okay ,Eddie is a three time loser ,but his love for Joan should allow him to find a job and to pick up the pieces. The chemistry between Sylvia Sydney (who was also in "Fury" ) and Henry Fonda is perfect and the two actors run the whole gamut of emotions.Joan believes in Justice (ironically however,the first scene of the apples,the only funny scene in the whole movie, could have warned her!)and that's why she makes her one mistake : " give yourself up,Eddie" .Eddie ,too,knows he was given a second chance and that you only live once.But fate is against him,and after losing his job,after dreaming of a peaceful life in a country home ,he unfairly stands accused of a massacre because his hat was found on the scene of the crime. "They made me a criminal" he says to his distraught wife.Tragedy will follow. SPOILER:It was mooted that the ending was a Christian one ,that now Eddie is free at last. Opening the prison gates was an illusive release,Heaven's gates are awaiting on you.But isn't it a bit ironical? If we have a good look at the existentialist title ,it is everything but a Christian panegyric.And however Lang was a true believer,and it was a Christian inspiration. . For Fritz Lang,every man is a potential criminal ("Woman in the window" "secret beyond the door" or "human desire" are prominent examples ).His last American movie ,the unfairly overlooked " beyond a reasonable doubt" is also his most terrifying; We side with Eddie all along the movie ( we cannot stop ourselves from screaming "listen to Father Dolan ,Eddie,Please,listen to him!" during the hostage-taking scene).Lang makes us feel for his hero,surrounded by indifferent cold people (the boss ,the warden,the landlord and his missus) . You only live once,so you've got to see this masterpiece in this life!

  • Light comedy and adorable romance give way to something darker in this hard-hitting melodrama

    J. Spurlin2009-09-04

    Joan Graham is the secretary for Stephen Witney, an honest and dedicated public defender, who succeeds in doing something he would almost rather not do: get Joan's sweetheart, Eddie Taylor, out of prison. Eddie is a good man, but Joan's sister, Bonnie, and Stephen both agree that he is no good for Joan. Eddie was born trouble. Joan and Eddie get married and set out to prove the naysayers wrong. Eddie gets a good, steady job as a truck driver; but a series of disasters sends his life spiraling out of control and the fiercely loyal Joan's along with it. Fritz Lang directs this hard-hitting melodrama and, as always, fills it with striking images. The shot of Eddie (Henry Fonda) in his cell, with the shadows of the bars reaching out to meet the bored and uninterested guard, stands out. The shots of a wide-eyed and desperate Fonda asking Joan (Sylvia Sidney) for a gun are a triumph for Lang, Fonda and Lang's cinematographer, Leon Shamroy. Lang also gets excellent work out of his editor, Daniel Mandell, who helps Lang to juxtapose images in a suggestive way, e.g. the shots of the frogs with shots of Joan and Eddie. Standing back from the film and looking at is as a whole makes it something of a marvel. We begin with light comedy, proceed to an adorable romance and then follow the characters as their lives - and the film itself - grows steadily darker.

  • A superb commentary on the American judicial system and the romantic couple.


    This film stands the test of time as the story of a man trying to become someone else and a woman's loss of faith in justice. Lang's comment on the difficulty of the romantic couple may stem from his former wife's transition to a Nazi, but the strong relationship between Eddie and Joan is both beautiful and disturbing. This film is meticulously shot, with perfect casting (who knew Henry Fonda was ever young?). It's always enjoyable to watch the old Hollywood movies with no blood, and very strange looking kisses.... Superb example of a Lang film and film noir. Worth watching on DVD for a quality restoration.

  • Compelling drama of human destiny


    Director Fritz Lang helms this well mounted drama of a struggling couple. Henry Fonda is a petty crook attempting to reform when he is framed on a murder charge. He eventually breaks out of prison and tries to escape to Canada with his wife (Sylvia Sidney) only fate seems to be against them. A nice blend of drama and romance with Fonda and Sidney most impressive in the starring roles. The fine supporting cast includes William Gargan, Barton MacLane, Margaret Hamilton, and Ward Bond. Unfortunately this gem of 1937 is not available on video and is seldom shown on TV anymore.


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