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I Want to Live!
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Top Customer Reviews
The film has a stark, realistic look, an excellent script, a pounding jazz score, and a strong supporting cast--but it is Susan Hayward's legendary performance that makes the film work. She gives us a Graham who is half gun moll, half good time girl, and tough as nails all the way through--but who is nonetheless likeable, perhaps even admirable in her flat rebellion against a sickeningly hypocritical and repulsively white-bread society. Although Hayward seems slightly artificial in the film's opening scenes, she quickly rises to the challenge of the role and gives an explosive performance as notable for its emotional hysteria as for its touching humanity.
As the story moves toward its climax, the detail with which director Wise shows preparations for execution in the gas chamber and the intensity of Hayward's performance add up to one of the most powerful sequences in film history.Read more ›
"I Want to Live!" tells the story of Barbara Graham, a wild party girl with a rap sheet a mile long who was convicted of murder in the early 1950's and executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin Penitentiary. The script whitewashes Graham's story, painting her as a more sympathetic character (i.e., "innocent") than she had been in real life, but Hayward comes through with a gutsy tour de force performance that provides the film with just the right amount of gritty toughness that elevates it out of the league of soap opera. Her Barbara Graham may be a "victim" of circumstances and a flawed legal system, but she is also loud, vulgar, crude, flippant, and antisocial, often working against her own best interests. And Hayward never hits a false note, provoking the audience to a strange mixture of contempt and compassion, repulsion and attraction.Read more ›
Barbara Graham was a beautiful young woman, a graduate from the school of hard knocks. She was an amoral, hard-living party girl, who, together with her friend, Peg (Virginia Vincent) , spent her time boozing and looking for love in all the wrong places. Susan and Peg would both eventually come to a fork in the road that would end up being a crossroad in each of their lives. Peg took one fork and ended up marrying Mr. Right, living a normal life. Barbara took the other fork and began a downward spiral that ultimately would not bode well for her. Barbara had a knack for surrounding herself with those for whom the lowest common denominator was the standard. She ended up marrying Mr. Wrong, and it is no surprise when her marriage heads south. With her marriage on its last legs, Barbara ends up leaving her husband and dropping their baby off to live with its paternal grandmother,
Barbara opts to hang around the wrong crowd, moving in with a former associate who, along with some of his cronies, has just done something very bad. It appears that they killed an elderly woman during a botched burglary/robbery. When all of them, including Barbara, are arrested for this crime, Barbara is left holding the bag, framed by the actual killers for something for which she claims to be innocent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I Want to Live! is a surprisingly dated, rather creaky film noir, even though made as late as 1958. The reason is that it's purpose was to crusade against the death penalty. Read morePublished 5 months ago by James A. Gorton
One of my favorite movies of all times! Susan Hayward keeps you on the edge of your seat during the whole (based on a true story) movie. Read morePublished 5 months ago by CalamityIam