Up 3,314 this week

Why Must I Die? (1960)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  June 1960 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.1/10 from 35 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Debra Paget commits a murder for which Terry Moore (as club singer Lois King) is arrested, tried, and condemned to die. The story line wanders through the trial and Miss King's final hours ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (additional dialogue), 2 more credits »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 874 titles
created 16 Jan 2012
a list of 1087 titles
created 02 Feb 2012
a list of 27 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 192 titles
created 7 months ago
a list of 267 titles
created 2 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Why Must I Die?" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Why Must I Die? (1960)

Why Must I Die? (1960) on IMDb 5.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Why Must I Die?.


1 video »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lois King
Dottie Manson
Juli Reding ...
Lionel Ames ...
Eddie Rainey
Richard LePore ...
Sinclair (as Richard Le Pore)
Morrie Waltzer
Selette Cole ...
Peggy Taylor
Dorothy Lovett ...
Mrs. Benson
Phil Harvey ...
Kenny Randall
Fred Sherman ...
'Red' King
Robert Shayne ...
Charlie Munro
Damian O'Flynn ...
D.A. Walter Dennison
Holly Harris ...
Miss Bradley
Mark Sheeler ...


Debra Paget commits a murder for which Terry Moore (as club singer Lois King) is arrested, tried, and condemned to die. The story line wanders through the trial and Miss King's final hours on Death Row. The true killer is finally ready to confess, but already Miss King (who has by now been strapped into the electric chair) is at risk. Will she be rescued in the nick of time? Written by R. Dresser <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I'm damned if I'm innocent...damned if I'm guilty...the only thing that counts is to LIVE! See more »


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

June 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why Must I Die?  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »


Girl on Death Row
Composed by Lee Hazlewood and Duane Eddy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A low-rent "I Want To Live!"
15 July 2007 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

After a narrow escape during a botched heist, Lois King (Terry Moore) calls it a day and walks out on her small-time boyfriend, Eddie, and her ex-con dad to start a new life. She relocates to another city, finds work as a nightclub singer, and rises to become the headliner at a swank supper club owned by Kenny Randall. In love with Kenny and preparing for marriage, Lois gets an unwelcome visitor- Eddie and his new moll, Dottie Manson (Debra Paget)- who blackmail her into helping them rob Randall's safe. The scheme doesn't go off as planned, however; Dottie shoots Randall and takes off with the money while Eddie flees the scene after trying to run Dottie down. Lois is arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the crime despite the best efforts of her sympathetic lawyer (Bert Freed). Dottie is eventually arrested for another robbery and sent to the same prison as Lois, but refuses to confess to Randall's killing. Lois' only hope now is for Eddie to come forward but, confronted by Lois' dad, he accidentally falls to his death -and time is running out...

In addition to earning Susan Hayward an Oscar, I WANT TO LIVE! (1958) was also a powerful plea for the abolishment of the death penalty. This low-rent rip-off did nothing for the career of its star, Howard Hughes' playmate Terry Moore, while capitalizing on the more sensational aspects of capital punishment. The poster screams "Only The Motion Picture Screen Would Dare Tell This Shocking Story!" and has Debra Paget yelling, "Honey, you're nothing but a good-time girl're guilty as sin!" with Terry replying, "I'm damned if I'm innocent ...damned if I'm guilty ...the only thing that counts is to LIVE!" The movie's tag line reads, "The TRUE story of a girl on Death Row!" but, although very loosely based on the ordeal of Barbara Graham, a disclaimer in the closing credits reads "any resemblance to persons living or dead..."

Mixing soap-opera with sensationalism, 1950's B-list pin-ups Terry Moore and Debra Paget get the chance to overact together in roles that require pulling out all stops. They can't quite pull it off, of course, but that only adds to the unintentional hilarity. Some of the more memorable moments include Moore, in prison, confiding in her doll and Paget blowing up a safe in capri pants and high heels. The teary-eyed Terry is forever getting bad breaks in life but Debra's risible role has her snarling every line and taking no prisoners; she kicks the cane away from an old blind man before shooting him in the back during a robbery because his ears may be witnesses. There's also a few in-jokes about Alfred Hitchcock: the music from VERTIGO is overused, one of the inmates killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, and Terry's Bible comes from the "Gates Motel". This was former Warner Bros. director Roy Del Ruth's final film and he gives this nonsense an air of respectability along with a well-done sequence or two. Terry Moore, who co-produced, gives herself four forgettable songs that stop the show for the wrong reasons and having her strapped into an electric chair with a hood pulled over her head comes not a moment too soon. The title tune (!) is saved for last and sung by Duane Eddy.

Classic Film fans may enjoy ogling Moore & Paget or catching Del Ruth's swansong, but others may be tempted to pull the switch themselves.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why Must I Die? alan-duke
Discuss Why Must I Die? (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: