Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane, Jean Dixon, William Gargan, Jerome Cowan, Charles 'Chic' Sale, Margaret Hamilton, Warren Hymer, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, John Wray, Walter De Palma
Written by: Gene Towne, C. Graham Baker
Directed by: Fritz Lang
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 86
Date: 01/29/1937

You Only Live Once (1937)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cruel Fate

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Fritz Lang's second American film, You Only Live Once (1937, Image Entertainment, $19.99), remains one of his all-time greatest and his first foray into the twisted mechanics of guilt vs. innocence and fate vs. free will. Henry Fonda plays a three-time loser who gets released from jail hoping to go straight and start a new life with Sylvia Sidney. But society won't have him; 'once a thief, always a thief' is their motto. The couple gets kicked out of their hotel and Fonda loses a decent job with a trucking company. When Fonda's hat is found at the scene of a robbery gone bad, he's arrested and sent straight to the chair. That's when fate truly stabs the knife in and twists it around. Lean and mean, You Only Live Once is absolutely essential viewing. The picture quality on Image's new disc is unfortunately only average, and there are no extras.

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