7.4/10
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41 user 36 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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Graham Baker)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
Bonnie Graham
...
...
Dr. Hill
...
Ethan (as Chic Sale)
...
Hester
...
Buggsy
...
Roger (as Guinn Williams)
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Warden Wheeler
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:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Time Loser  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$575,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Charles 'Chic' Sale. See more »

Quotes

Joan Graham: Anywhere's our home. On the road. Out there on a cold star. Anywhere's our home.
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Connections

Referenced in Amália (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

A Thousand Dreams of You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Alter
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User Reviews

Light comedy and adorable romance give way to something darker in this hard-hitting melodrama
4 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

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.


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