Film - Feature | July 7 | 5 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
When three-time loser Eddie Taylor (Henry Fonda) is about to be released from prison, his lawyer assures the warden that Eddie will make good. Eddie adds skeptically, I willif they let me. Like many of Langs films, You Only Live Once depicts a struggle between individual will and socially determined destiny; atypically for the director, its also a moving and sincere love story. This has often been cited as the original lovers-on-the-run movie. But the relationship between edgy, fragile Eddie and sad-eyed Jo (Sylvia Sidney) feels less like amour fou à la Bonnie and Clyde than like a tragic, transcendent partnership borrowed from a Frank Borzage melodrama. Harrowing scenes of prison and pursuit are rendered in a starkly expressive visual style, but the bleak atmosphere ultimately gives way to pastoral lyricism, suggesting a possibility of spiritual if not social redemption. Asked about the ending, Lang said, You may laugh, but dont forget, I was born a Catholic.