Jane Froman (Susan Hayward), an aspiring songstress, lands a job in radio with help from pianist Don Ross (David Wayne), whom she later marries. Jane's popularity soars, and she leaves on a... See full summary »
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 »
Angie Evans, fast-rising nightclub singer, interrupts her career to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. When Ken lucks into a career as chart-topping radio crooner, Angie is forced into... 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's son is brought to the jail for a visit, and the presence of the news media upsets Barbara, she retreats to an interior area of the jail and pounds on the wall in frustration. The "brick" wall gives slightly as she throws her weight onto it. See more »
[Last lines. Barbara's letter to Ed Montgomery, voiceover]
Dear Mr. Montgomery - There isn't much I can say with words. They always fail me when most needed. But please know that with all my heart, I appreciate all you've done for me. Sincerely, Barbara.
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The film opens with this statement: The pitiless story told in this film is a true story. This story had to be told to the whole world; the whole world should see it and hear it. What good are films if they do not make us face the realities of our time? Here is the reality of our time, and we have no right to be ignorant of it. The day will come when such documents will seem to us to refer to prehistoric times, and we shall consider them as unbelievable that in earlier centuries witches were burned or thieves had their right hands cut off. Such period of true civilization is still in the future, but this film has the honor of at least contributing to its coming". Albert Camus - Nobel Prize winner. 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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