You Only Live Once (1937)
Continuing my long term exploration into Fritz Lang's filmography, You Only Live Once follows an ex-convict Eddie Taylor (Henry Fonda) who is out of jail and has committed no crime but ends up getting blamed for a murder and gets not only jailed but also scheduled for execution. His wife Joan Graham (Sylvia Sidney) has to fight for his freedom even if that means helping him try to escape by any means possible. I really did not go into this film with any expectations but this movie honestly shocked me, I loved this movie for the most part and it is up there with Metropolis as my favorite Fritz Lang films. Easily the highlight of this movie for me would be its characters and the situations they are put in. It is near genius, in my opinion, the twists and turns that this movie had. Seeing a convict who has moved on in his life be put into a situation where he has to revert back to his darker sides due to the threat of death that is just around the corner is just an amazing setup and Henry Fonda does a brilliant job at portraying this character. I was constantly interested in what he would do next and is now one of my all-time characters of all time. Unfortunately, with this great highlight on Eddie I can't help but feel like Sylvia Sidney's character Joan is pushed to the side a bit. She acts more of a force to move the plot in certain elements and none of her scenes connected with me in the way that Fonda's scenes did.
My other main issue is the ending, its not necessarily bad but it for such an engaging and interesting movie filled with great twists and turns the conclusion feels really simple and uninspired. For all the great characters and developments for it to end in such an unremarkable way was just disappointing. It is a standard ending for what is otherwise an extraordinary film and holds it back from being one of my all time favorites.