Why Must I Die? (1960)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  June 1960 (USA)
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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 »
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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
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 <bob@j51.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only The Motion Picture Screen Would Dare Tell This Shocking Story! See more »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

June 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

13 Steps to Death  »

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Did You Know?


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


Words and Music by Les Baxter
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User Reviews

Fits the frame
19 May 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This low budget independent film produced by Terry Moore is a plea against capital punishment. Producer Moore was able to get fellow contemporary star Debra Paget in this movie with her as they play a pair of knockabout girls who've definitely seen the seamier side of life. The only problem is that Moore winds up sitting on death row for a murder that Paget committed.

Moore was a small time crook herself, but she grows tired of the life and wants to make a clean break from it. She goes to work for club owners Robert Shayne and Phil Harvey as a singer. But old friends like Lionel Ames whom she was an accomplice with in pulling several jobs follow her.

Now Ames has Debra Paget in tow and she's one hard bitten dame that makes Moore look like Mary Poppins. The two pull a job on the club Moore was singing at and beautifully frame her for the robbery. The problem is that Paget kills Harvey and Moore fits that frame too.

As for the rest of it, all I can say is that for such hard bitten dame Paget folds easily enough with a little pressure. If you've seen Susan Hayward in I Want To Live you can figure out where the story takes us.

Hayward's performance in that is one of those once in a lifetime achievements by a player that are impossible to duplicate. That being said, plenty try and Terry Moore was one of them.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the financing for this low budget film was helped along a little by Howard Hughes. Terry was his main squeeze, but Hughes would have done this one from petty cash.

Why Must I Die is sincere enough, but it's also trashy and exploitive.

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