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When he''''s framed for murder, an escaped convict returns to crime to protect his wife and child.
Eddie Taylor, a three-time convict, gets out of prison due to the influence of his fiancée Joan Graham's boss, public defender Stephen Whitney, who also is in love with Joan. Before he leaves, Eddie is warned by Warden Wheeler that a fourth conviction will result in a life sentence. Eddie and Jo marry, and at their honeymoon inn, they see two frogs next to each other in a pond. Eddie says that with frogs, if one dies, the other dies also, as they cannot live without the other, and Jo suggests that maybe they can see something in the other that no one else can see. That night, Jo and Eddie, who is skeptical that he will be accepted into society, are asked to leave their honeymoon room when the proprietors learn that he is an ex-con. Because of Stephen's influence, Eddie gets a truck driving job, but he is fired for being late after he meets Jo to show her a house they plan to buy. Needing to make the rest of the down payment by the end of the week, Eddie, although he is tempted to join his old bank robbing gang, desperately asks for his job back. When the unsympathetic boss won't even consider writing him a recommendation, Eddie slugs him. After his hat is found at the scene of an armored truck robbery in which six people, overcome with gas, have died, Eddie makes his way through the rain to the new house to see Jo before running away. She convinces him to remain and try to beat the rap, but he is found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair. When Jo visits him in prison shortly before he is scheduled to die, Eddie coldly asks her to get him a gun. Her attempt to bring him one sets off an alarm when she passed an "electric eye," and Father Dolan, the prison priest who had befriended Eddie during his earlier incarceration, gently takes the gun away. Jo asks Father Dolan to tell Eddie that she hasn't forgotten about the frogs. After Eddie finds a note hidden on the tray of his last supper stating that there is a gun hidden in the mattress of the isolation ward, he slashes his wrist with a tin cup and later causes a disturbance so that he will be put in that ward. Doctor Hill enters the ward with a guard, and Eddie, after finding the gun, takes Hill hostage. Using him as a shield, Eddie makes his way to the truck gate of the prison. Just then, a teletype message arrives for the warden ordering Eddie's pardon because his innocence has been established by federal agents. Eddie does not believe the warden when he tells him the news, and Father Dolan implores the warden not to open the gates for Eddie while he is carrying a gun, because he worries that Eddie will kill anyone on the outside who gets in his way. Dolan himself goes into the foggy yard with the teletype message. When Dolan refuses to give the order to open the gates unless Eddie hands over the gun, Eddie, no longer trusting anybody, shoots Dolan, whereupon Dolan, seeing that Eddie is about to shoot Hill, gives the order for the gates to be opened and dies. After he is wounded outside the gates, Eddie telephones Jo, who is just about to drink poison at the scheduled time of the execution. Stephen gives her money and his car, and she meets Eddie on a freight car. She steals medical supplies from a drugstore and, blaming herself for their predicament, refuses Eddie's plea that she leave him. After the couple is falsely blamed for robberies throughout the country, Jo has a baby and they travel North. At an auto court, Jo gives the baby to Stephen and her sister Bonnie to take care of until she sends for him and refuses Stephen's offer to send her to Havana while he tries to clear her name. A man at the auto court sees Jo buying cigarettes and calls the police. Near the border, Eddie and Jo come upon a roadblock, and officers wound both of them. They drive off the road, and Eddie carries Jo toward the border. Just after she dies in his arms, Eddie is shot. He kisses Jo and hears Father Dolan say, "You're free, Eddie; the gates are open," before he dies.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1937||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||United Artists Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.|
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User Ratings & Review
you only live once
kevin sellers 2015-10-21
Pretty good doomed lover story, until the last five minutes, when Fritz Lang's up till then lyrically brutal realism gives way to sheer Hollywood...
You Only Live Once
Mark Sutch 2011-04-14
You Only Live Once (1937)
Jay Higgins 2009-10-30
Fritz Lang's amazing direction, the casting of Henry Fonda as an escaped convict and Sylvia Sidney as his wife make this film a real winner. Fonda...