I Want To Live!
Drama | English | 120 minutes
San Francisco, 1950. Barbara Graham is a petty criminal and prostitute working for the unsavory Emmett Perkins, luring men to his gambling parlor. After earning enough money, Graham leaves Emmett to marry Hank. Graham soon dumps Hank, a jobless drug addict. Graham rejoins Emmett who is now associated with thugs John Santo and Bruce King. Graham is stunned when she, Santo, and King are arrested for murdering Mable Monahan, an elderly woman from Burbank. Barbara insists she was at home with her husband Hank when the crime was committed. Graham’s attorney, Richard Tibrow, informs Graham that her alibi is meaningless unless it can be corroborated by Hank. At the trial, Hank refutes the alibi and Barbara and her accomplices are convicted and sentenced to death. The execution, delayed several times, drives Graham to hysterics. The execution is finally set. Prior to entering the gas chamber, the prison attendant tries to assure Graham there will be no pain. Graham looks up at him and asks, “How would you know?”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
- Academy Awards: Winner, Best Actress (Susan Hayward); Nominated, Best Director (Robert Wise); Best Adapted Screenplay (Nelson Gidding, Don Mankiewicz); Best Cinematography (Lionel Lindon)
- Golden Globe Awards: Winner, Best Actress (Susan Hayward); Nominated, Best Picture; Best Director (Robert Wise)
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner, Best Actress (Susan Hayward)
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I WANT TO LIVE! is a drama dealing with the last years and the execution of Barbara Graham. There is no attempt to gloss the character of Barbara Graham, only an effort to understand it through some fine irony and pathos.”
Miss Hayward plays the role superbly, under the consistently sharp direction of Robert Wise, who has shown here a stunning mastery of the staccato realistic style.
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