Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood ... See full summary »
Bo Gillis is running for Governor. Steve writes the speeches, Sylvester runs the campaign and Bo plays the guitar. Everything is going according to the plan until a hooker named Ada is ... See full summary »
In a fictional version of true events at the New York prison of Blackwell's Island in 1934, reporter Tim Haydon breaks up a crime organization run by racketeer Bull Bransom from within the ... See full summary »
Barbara Graham is a woman with dubious moral standards, often a guest in seedy bars. She has been sentenced for some petty crimes. Two men she knows murder an older woman. When they get caught they start to think that Barbara has helped the police to arrest them. As a revenge they tell the police that Barbara is the murderer. Written by
Barbara's actual response to the guard advising her to "take a deep breath, it's easier" was supposedly "how _the hell_ would you know". Apparently it had to be cleaned up for the 1958 audience, which is ironic given the rather graphic nature of the scene. See more »
When Barbara wakes up screaming from a nightmare, a prison matron comes in shining a flashlight on her. In close-up, the light has a Fresnel-type lens, but in the next long shot, the flashlight has a clear lens. See more »
Susan Hayward's powerful performance as Barbara Graham has been much written about, and it is the single best part of this film. But there are so many other perfectly pitched performances surrounding her as well, mostly by actors relatively unknown even to film buffs, or early turns by actors whose faces, if not names, did find a national audience--Virginia Vincent as Peg (she played the mother in The Hills Have Eyes), Gas chamber guard Dabbs Greer (the Rev. on Little House on the Prairie and Picket Fences), and especially Raymond Bailey who plays the San Quentin warden. His understated forthrightness and humaneness are a far cry from his later manic turn as Mr Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies (with the addition of a toupee). Robert Wise handles the execution preparations with a clinicism that turns the stomach more than any posturing would do, bringing the horror of impending death home. And following the clock's second with a moving camera closeup, instead of just cutting to the clock on the wall, done so many times, is craftsmanship of the highest order.
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