You Only Live Once (1937), Highly Recommended, TSPDT #863

Throughout director Fritz Lang’s career, he often examined the justice system. In this film, we see that in America there may be laws on the books concerning crime, serving your time for doing it, and being released from prison, but that in reality you are branded for life.

The film begins with the release of Eddie Taylor (Henry Fonda) from prison and his subsequent marriage to a secretary named Joan Graham (Sylvia Sidney). He tries to go straight with the trucking job that was setup for him by the prison, but the second the slightest thing goes wrong they drop him. Soon a bank robbery happens and it’s pinned him. He is convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of officers who died during the robbery. With a little bit of help, he is soon on the run with his wife and their baby in tow.

Lang’s style is on full display in this film, his second made in America. Here are some examples:

Ultra Low Angle Shot

We Watch The Conversation In The Reflecting Waters

Hidden Eyes

Light And Shadow


It’s a visually stunning film with a strong message that doesn’t lose any of it’s bite right up to and including the end of the film. I highly recommend it.

8 thoughts on “You Only Live Once (1937), Highly Recommended, TSPDT #863

  1. Might givr this film a tryI'm curious about the title, if the 007 movie "You only live twice"was inspired by this, any idea?It's probably my favourite Bond song, actually, beautiful, and surprisingly thoughtful which you wouldn't expect for Bond.

  2. Some how I doubt this film was even known to Ian Fleming nor anyone involved in the production of the Bond films. This film screams of French New Wave or German New Cinema re-discovery.I have all three of The Strokes' albums. Although Is This It officially ended the musical drought started in 1996 by The Spice Girls, by the time they came out with their third album they were tapped out in my opinion.

  3. There were exceptions during that period, but by and large it was the era of pop princesses and boy bands. Funny story. NSync came to play at my high school back in the late 1990's because their crooked manager went there. They had a recorded applause. It was hilarious.

  4. Everyone's entitled to their incorrect opinions, lol. Actually what they have on their site is pretty weak in terms of defending the second half of the 90's. I certainly wouldn't call up Third Eye Blind when you have say Radiohead. Stone Temple Pilots also released one of their best in 1996.At least their is no mention of Blink 182 or Papa Roach.

  5. I haven't read all the 90s feature in detail, but what I agree with is the female singer-songwriter argument about them fading from mainstream music in the 2000s.I don't know enough about Third Eye Blind etc to comment

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