I WANT TO LIVE!"
1958
Academy Award nomination No. 5
and the
WINNER!

 
  AN OVERVIEW OF "I WANT TO LIVE"
BY
GINGER HAYDON

"I Want To Live", starring Susan Hayward, and directed by
Robert Wise, is one of the most chilling films ever made. Susan Hayward portrays the character of real-life Barbara Graham who was sentenced to death by gas for the 1953 murder of Mabel Monahan, a 60 year old California woman, during the process of a robbery. Graham claimed innocence up until her last breath.

Susan Hayward pulled out all of the stops in this one. She wasn't afraid to play the role with all of the rawness and hardness that her character's life implied. She seemed to be on a roller coaster of emotions --going from courage to fear, toughness to vulnerability,fun loving party girl to introspective and sad woman,
in virtually every scene. Little wonder  that she won the Best Actress oscar that year. The final scene where she was led, blindfolded to the gas chamber, and then slowly succumbed while the press and various prision officials looked on, is enough to turn one's blood cold-and it's a scene that never quite leave's one mind. 

The jazz score throughout the film adds tension and actually helps to tell the story. (Check out the link within this webpage to Robert Wise's interview. In this interview he elaborates on this factor regarding the music.)

This movie would never had made the impact that it did if it had been filmed in color. The black and white add to the starkness and seediness of the mood of the film and the characters portrayed
.
YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE A FACTUAL STORY. IT IS BASED ON ARTICLES I WROTE, OTHER NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES, COURT RECORDS, LEGAL AND PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS, PERSONAL INTERVIEWS--
AND THE LETTERS
OF
BARBARA GRAHAM
........
Edward S. Montgomery,
Pulitizer Prize Winner
San Francisco Examiner
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