Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937)

Fritz Lang’s second Hollywood film is paradoxically more Langian and more idiomatically American than his initial Stateside pic, FURY/’36 . Henry Fonda & Sylvia Sidney are exceptional & heartbreaking as a doomed ex-con & the Public Defender’s asst who stubbornly believes in him as fate inexorably grinds away. Classics like THEY LIVE BY NIGHT/’49, BONNIE & CLYDE/’67, THIEVES LIKE US/’74 and scores of lesser ‘Wanted’-lovers on-the-run pics are unimaginable without this film that in many ways (certainly in its devious fatalistic plotting & in capturing the spirit of Depression era times) holds up better than the later films. (If only the original film materials were in better shape, alas!) Watch for a bank robbery sequence that could have come straight out of a Fritz Lang MABUSE pic and for his distinctively formal composition style (Leon Shamroy lensed) which only reemerged this consistently for Lang in SCARLET STREET/’45, WOMAN IN THE WIDOW/’44 and THE BIG HEAT/’53.

CONTEST: A film that often tops critics' lists as the all-time best lifted one of its iconic moments right out of this film. Name that famous film and the 'borrowed' iconic moment to win our usual prize, a MAKSQUIBS write-up of any NetFlix DVD.

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