Saturday February 15, 2020
Screenshot: You Only Live Once (1937)
From Fritz Lang's “You Only Live Once,” starring Sylvia Sidney and Henry Fonda. And yes, that's not Henry Fonda.
“...the electric eye which detects metal”: love that. How long before they shortened it? Or was this an overlong name for moviegoers unfamiliar with the tech? And hey, when did metal detectors become a thing anyway?
For the modern version, apparently, the 1920s.
In this scene, Joan (Sidney), the secretary to a perpetually scowling public defender (Barton MacLane), is trying to smuggle a gun to her boyfriend, Eddie Taylor (Fonda), who's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit—a favorite Lang theme. Father Dolan (William Gargan) covers for her here but then demands the gun. Is this her first attempt at breaking the law? In the last half hour, Eddie and Joan become a kind of Bonnie and Clyde, but nicer. Fonda's character is similar to his Tom Joad two years later; he begins both movies getting out of jail and is pretty touchy about anyone asking questions. Fonda's persona would smooth out over the years but I like this version, too.
Does anyone know if this is where we get the James Bond title “You Only Live Twice”? Was it playing off of this movie? Or just off the general adage?