- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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You know it's kind of a shame that, newspaper reporter Montgomery didn't witness the beating and strangulation of the crippled Mabel Monahan. What a story that would have made. Just maybe his sympathy would have been better used.
One of the Great Performances in Film History
My comments here were inspired by some criticisms I have read online about Susan Hayward's performance in I Wanna Live. To me Susan Hayward was right up there with the likes of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck. When analyzing a performance one must always consider the time in which the film was made. One might say that these actresses were scene stealers (which can be a very bad thing and throw off the balance of the entire movie). But not so with these actresses. Perhaps they were "over the top" so to speak. But for their time and the movies they were in, it worked. I am a huge movie buff and have seen almost all of Susan Hayward's films. I think that her performance in I Wanna Live ranks as one of the top 10 performances by an actress in movie history.
Isn't it fascinating, everyone in this film is so sympathetic to Barbara with the exception of those low down police and the DA office. No one and I mean no one in this film believes Barbara is guilty. What a load of s---!!!
Bravo ! Five Stars & Accurate !
- Don Riley
Very well made and much closer to "reality" than the majority of films that depict totally unrepentant criminals. With no real insight into the agony of the condemned. Werner Herzog's recent portrayals of actual "death row" inmates has shed light on that. But this was an early look at that and "very authentic". Susan Hayward adds "Star Quality".
What Difference Can It Make
- J. D. Jitters
One thing that I will never understand is this silly notion that women should not face the death penalty. Mother nature could care less how a woman dies, weather it be cancer, heart attack, liver disorder, etc, and if mother nature doesn't care then why does man??? Woman want equality then lets go all the way!
My grandmother took me to the drive in when I was 7 or 8 to see this movie and the only thing I remembered about it all of these years is when she stumbles as she's coming out of the cell and loses her high heel. I have wanted to see this movie again for years and I wasn't disappointed. She also took me to see "Walk on the Wild Side" and "King Creole." She would have been 110 yesterday and I sure do miss her.
I Want to Live!
The suspenseful biopic about Barbara Graham and her trial and execution. Hayward won the Best Actress Oscar as the party girl- mother who faces execution for murder. Moody, Oscar- nominated photography and a score that deserved a nomination help create the world, which was taken by Al Montgomery's articles and Graham's letters. Grim and tense. I give it a 4.5/5.
A superstar too late
- Andee Ferguson
I saw this movie as a young, married mother; I was viewing it alone and have to admit, it brought me to tears; Like others, Barbara's acting was beyond phenomenal! No other actress could have played this part so well nor brougt what the true emotions were as the day of execution neared; the final five to seven minutes of the movie, it was like you were standing at the door with her, you wanted to reach out and hug her, tell her you cared about her, you did not believe she was the murderer and the justice system had failed her.A few years ago, in my late 60s, the movie still gave me goose bumps; as when I was younger, I would have liked to have had more detail, verbalization of the murder itself and how the police came to arrest her, make her the perp and let the accomplices by with less prosecution, especially, the one that actually did the awful deed. I wonder too, did she ever name the perp that did the actual killing.When I think of old movies I think of Barbara in this performance, no doubt the performance of a lifetime; the other movie that I truly enjoy and like to watch often is I Remember Mama. This too was a stellar performance by all that were in it but Irene Dunn stole the limelight for me.
Just saw I want to live! for the first time today and absolutely loved it! Susan Hayward was outstanding in her portrayal of Barbara Graham.. Im not real familiar with Ms. Haywards work, but I am now a big fan...she was so beautiful.....Can't wait to see some of her other films!
A Lot Missing
There were a few facts missing in the film. Mabel Monohan was severly beaten and then suffocated. The San Quentin Gas Chamber also ended the lives of Emmett Perkins and Jack Santo, they also took part in the murder. To much attention in this film was given to Barbara and little to the real victim. I suppose the producer of this film felt Mabel Monohan was dead, so who cares at least that is the way liberal thinkers tought back in those days. The Hollywood communinty could not understand the admiration, when the audience applauded the Dirty Harry film They (audience) saw what Hoolywood couldn't see, that is the crime fitting the punishment. They were to busy feeling sorry for evil.
Ms. Hayward's Peak As An Actress
David Kehr the film critic wrote a long essay a few years ago about Susan Hayward. I cannot quote directly from it but the essence was that Ms. Hayward was uniquely able to portray the loneliness and frustration of a Woman just about better than anyone of her era. Agree! A former co star and legend himself Frederic March noted that "every inch of that woman is an actress" Robert Wise and Walter Wanger cast Ms. Hayward as convicted murderess Barbara Graham, and Ms. Hayward creates an indelible portrait of a doomed woman. Imagine doing that sans any dirty language etc that would be the wont of a Actress today! As Ms. Hayward's Barbara Graham has a nerve wracking journey to the Gas Chamber, Ms. Hayward's work becomes one of the great performances of her era if not of all time. Susan Hayward justly won the Oscar for her performance. The film has a brilliant jazz score andthe black and white camera work by ace Lionel Linden adds to the grainy atmosphere of the film brilliantly directed by Robert Wise. Wise in commentary years later praised Ms. Hayward as the finest actress he ever Directed.
Sympathy For Evil
- Jack The Hat
If Robert Wise were directing a film today about the drug cartel in Mexico, he would find some reason why they should be exonerated from being tried in a court of law. In the mid fifties and sixties Hollywood feel in love with those who comit evil----this film is a perfect example. It makes me sick!
Deceptive but powerful
- Art Rubin
This has always been one of my all-time favorite films, mainly because of Susan Hayward's performance (she invented the word "gutsy").However, as I've since learned, the movie itself is an exercise in early "Oliver Stone-ism." There was much more evidence on which Barbara Graham was convicted than the movie shows. The conviction wasn't mere prejudice against a prostitute with an already thick criminal dossier.In one amusing change, when the cops surround the hide-out lair of Barbara and her male accomplices, it's at night. And one of the males beats Barbara up before surrendering to the police.In the true story, the cops broke into the hide-out place in broad daylight--to discover Barbara and her partners in bed having a threesome!The differences between what we see and what really happened even carried over to the Oscars. As one reviewer noted, Miss Hayward was called back on stage after winning so she could receive more applause. The truth: that happened because the show was "under time" (a rarity for the Oscars) and they needed to fill in the gap.One last comment, which I don't think anyone else ever noted. The most heartbreaking part of the movie was when Barbara, on two separate occasions when she was just about to be executed, received temporary stays--one at the very door of the gas chamber. How torturous and inhuman. But keep in mind that it was her own attorney's efforts which brought about that torture. Anyway, rest in peace, Ms. Hayward. You were--and always will be--the best.
Actively participate in a crime---
In some states if you actively participate in a crime where by a homoicide is committed, even if you where not the one who caused the death---you are as guilty as those who did. This can explain the deserved death sentence that she received, the rest of the film is baloney
Top-Notch and Terrifying
- Paul Conrad Jackson
I Want To Live is a five-star movie all the way. A true life drama that grabs you by the heart. Not only very unsettling, but highly disturbing. Everything about this movie is first rate: The acting, the dialogue, the photography and the building of suspense. The final scenes make you want to cringe. It reminds one of a later British movie about a woman who also faced the death penalty, 'Dance With A Stranger', the true story of Ruth Ellis. The outcry over Ellis' hanging pushed Britain into abolishing the death penalty.
Innocent Or Guilty?
- Bruce Reber
I have seen this film several times and I think it never really explains whether Barbara Graham was a murderess, setup by her accomplices or a victim of the fallability of the justice system. I think that one of her accomplices commited the murder, but for whatever reason the evidence that could have acquitted her never came to light. Susan Hayward fully deserved the Oscar for her peformance as Graham, a woman who was used by men all her life and eventually led to her imprisonment and execution."I Want To Live" is a gripping and powerful drama. Four stars!
Miss Hayward Magnificent in Great Drama
- David Atkins
Susan Hayward won her long overdue Oscar in Robert Wise's piercing drama "I Want To Live".The film based on the true story of Barbara Graham alleges that Graham, a Prostitute, was framed for the murder of an elderly woman. Searing indictment of Capital Punishment and Miss Hayward whom I like as a great actress drops some of the famous tricks she used as she moved up the ladder to great stardom and presents a true and natural portrait of a doomed woman.Miss Hayward won the New York Film Critics Award for her bravo performance and the Oscar in a year of great acting of females: Roz Russell, Deborah Kerr, Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor.To my knowledge, Miss Hayward is the only star called back on stage for a curtain call for her great-and much deserved win.Sadly Miss Hayward died at a relatively young age of 57 and we have been deprived of many great performances this stunning star would have given. She was a combination of Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. A great dramatic actress who was very very alluring.RIP Great Lady
I Want To Lie
- Jack Phillippe
Hollywood love to twist the facts so that they can expose the American justice system as deceptive but it is Hollywood who could give lessons in deception. You will note that Mrs. Monahan is barely an after thought in this film. So What? It is our dear Barbara Graham who deserves our sympathy and at the same time, belittle our justice system with innuendos. The very thing this film supposedly condemns.
Would like you to show more often
- Linda Bowen
I like susan hayward movies would like you to show them more often as the only time you show this one I want to live is at Oscar time then only once or twice. I like old movies especialy Susan Hayward and John Wayne and you show him all the time
- Harold Shalett
Susan Hayward, originally from Carrollton, Georgia,is one of the greatestbut underrated (and overlooked) actressesever to hit the screen. Any one of herperformances are oscar worthy. Harold Shalett Chattanooga,Tenn.37415