YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE [1937] movie review

May 3, 2014 · Print This Article

Based on Netflix’s recommendation and that it was starring Henry Fonda, I watched YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE [1937] this evening, but was rather disappointed by it. The movie was full of hard luck until the very end making me think why should anyone watch something like this? I cannot recommend it.

Henry Fonda is a sympathetic 3-time ex-con just getting out of jail once again with a chance at going straight. He has a super devoted girl waiting for him on the outside, and he is only getting out because she is the secretary for the public defender and he actually loves her and is willing to help her even if it means Fonda and her getting back together.

Right away though, it is apparent it will not be an easy transition to happily married couple as the innkeeper recalls his face and him and his wife (who I spotted as the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West!) knock on their door at 4am and tell them to get out they don’t want jailbirds staying at their inn! Fonda then gets fired from his job for being an hour and a half late for no good reason. Why he would not just tell his boss, hey, I need to go look at a house I want to buy with my wife instead of just being so late is a huge flaw in either the movie or just Fonda’s character such that you lose sympathy for him right away for doing something so stupid.

Then there is poor editing during a bank robbery with very poorly orchestrated misdirection. Basically Fonda is framed for the robbery and is right back in jail, this time on death row. It seems like he is convicted then set to be executed just a couple days later, making it seem more unbelievable. Only later do we find out he was on death row for five months. More poor editing.

In the jail is the really only good scene of the movie with a standoff between Fonda making a daring escape and the warden and the priest that believes there is good in Fonda. Everything else that happens in the final scenes of the movie after this are pretty absurd and totally unbelievable. Then there could not be a more tragic ending. What is the point of this movie? What message does it want to make?

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