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 »
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 »
Dave Burke is looking to hire two men to assist him in a bank raid: Earle Slater, a white ex-convict, and Johnny Ingram, a black gambler. Both are reluctant; but Burke arranges for Ingram's... See full summary »
Jerry Ryan is wandering aimlessly around New York, having given up his law career in Nebraska when his wife asked for a divorce. He meets up with Gittel Mosca, an impoverished dancer from ... See full summary »
Insurance detective Steve Hastings is sent by his company to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent. His first lead is the agent's fetching sister, Victoria, whom he trails to ... See full summary »
In occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War, a young French laundress shares a coach ride with several of her condescending social superiors. But when a Prussian officer holds the ... See full summary »
Jean Simmons (a school teacher) takes a secretarial job in a nightclub. The two club owners quibble about a lot, including her. Unfortunately, she develops an interest for the partner who disapproves of her employment at the club.
The movie tells the story of a woman who struggles and fights to escape the gas chamber being condemned with capital punishment because of her participation in a hold up in which a person ... 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
After the capture, there is a brief shot of the San Mateo County Jail. It's the real building on Sweeney Ridge, adjacent to what was then a Coast Guard Radio Station. 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 »
Many people recognize Susan Hayward as a great actress but if you ask them in what movie they thought she was remarkable, they'll usually tell you that they can't remember any particular classic in which she played. They'll tell you that they think she is a great actress for all the movies and roles in her career. Let's face it. She never played in a classic. There isn't one movie on AFI's top 100 list that stares her. But if you ask anybody what her best performance was, anybody will answer that it was her role as Barbara Graham in "I want to live". Sure the movie's not a classic. But she totally deserved the best actress Oscar she won for her role in it.
Barbara Graham (Hayward) is a tough, wisecracking prostitute. A real party-girl. Even when she gets arrested for murder, she keeps on joking around and p***ing-off the cops. But when she realizes that this thing is going to court and that if she's convicted, she could be executed in the gas-chamber, she doesn't see things the same way anymore. And when she thinks she has found a man that is willing to testify that she was with him on the night of the murder, he gets her to tell him that she was present at the scene of the crime. She tells him all this. But when he is summoned in court, he is the prosecution's witness and he appears to be a cop who has trapped her into telling all the evidence the prosecution needs to convict her.
Robert Wise's directing is pretty good but the two things that make this one worth watching are the music and Hayward's performance. John Mandel's choice of the blues for the music is excellent and allows us to hang on with Barbara until her very last second alive. Be forewarned: This one is 100% of a tear-jerker and requires nerves of steel to make it through the whole thing without crying. If you like Hayward, see it at all costs. However, Robert Wise has directed some better ones like "West side story" for example. But still, it's pretty good.
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