I Want to Live! (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Want to Live! (1958)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Grim, almost unbearably intense, I Want To Live is the story of the life and execution of Barbara Graham (Susan Hayward) a perjurer, prostitute, liar and drug addict. The product of a broken home, Graham works as a shill, luring gullible men into crooked card games. She attempts to go straight, marries the wrong man, and has a baby. When her life falls apart, she returns to her former profession and is involved in a murder. Despite her claims of innocence, she is convicted and executed. Robert Wise directs the uniformly fine cast with grim efficiency, telling Graham's story in a series of adroitly crafted scenes that won him a well-deserved Academy Award nomination. However, the film belongs to Susan Hayward who gives a intense, shattering performance without one false note. Her performance is so grimly focused that she is, at times, almost unbearable to watch. The final scenes, which lead up to Graham's execution, are exhausting in their emotional intensity as the audience is spared nothing of Graham's agony, despair and desperation when she finally loses the long battle to save her life. Whether one sees Graham as a murderer or a hapless victim of society, the power and relentless, sordid reality of her story leaves an indelible memory in the mind of the viewer.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Nelson Gidding, Don Mankiewicz, Don M. Mankiewicz
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 7, 2002
Runtime:
MGM Home Entertainment

Cast

Susan Hayward
as Barbara Graham
Simon Oakland
as Ed Montgomery
Theodore Bikel
as Carl G.G. Palmberg
Wesley Lau
as Henry Graham
Philip Coolidge
as Emmett Perkins
Lou Krugman
as Jack Santo
James Philbrook
as Bruce King
Bartlett Robinson
as District Attorney
Gage Clarke
as Richard Tibrow
Joe De Santis
as Al Matthews
John Marley
as Father Devers
Dabbs Greer
as San Quentin Captain
Stafford Repp
as Sergeant
Gavin MacLeod
as Lieutenant
Peter Breck
as Ben Miranda
Olive Blakeney
as Corona warden
Lorna Thayer
as Corona guard
Evelyn Scott
as Personal effects cle...
Leonard Bell
as San Francisco Hood
Bill Stout
as Newsman
S. John Launer
as San Quentin officer
Dan Sheridan
as Police broadcaster
Wendell Holmes
as Detective
Art Farmer
as Musician
Bud Shank
as Musician
Pete Jolly
as Musician
Red Mitchell
as Musician
Shelly Manne
as Musician
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for I Want to Live!

Critic Reviews for I Want to Live!

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Susan Hayward won the 1958 Oscar for her most famous role, as real-life Barbara Graham who was excuted in a gas chamber, in Robert Wise's gritty noir melodrama, one of Hollywood's first detailed accounts of capital punishment.

Full Review… | June 23, 2008
EmanuelLevy.Com

Stunning drama that cries out for death penalty reform...with excellent Susan Hayward in lead.

December 23, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Serves as a telling indictment of capital punishment.

Full Review… | July 2, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for I Want to Live!

½

Right up there with Suddenly Last Summer for Scenery Chewing Performance By An Actress. Still a very watchable flick.

brooklynspo
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Robert Wise's venture conveying that the truth can be adjusted. Quite a deceptive story of miscarriage of justice for someone who learns about this factual case from the movie. And Susan Hayward's performance was way too mediocre to be Oscar-worthy. As a work of fiction based on actual events, the movie isn't an absolute rubbish. The last half hour is a drag, though.

imrealgod
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

½

What of course makes the idea of this film intriguing is that this is a woman heading for a Death Sentance in a time where that would be dominated by Men. Based on the true story of party girl Barbara Graham this film shows a woman high on the excitement of the wrong side of the law and being charged for a murder she may or may not have committed.

The story is rather drawn out and despite our main character being quite Bold and brassy for the era, the film isn?t particularly exciting viewing, from a true crime prespective it is an interesting story and would perhaps warrant a remake in more graphic detail.

76Majikat
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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