I Want to Live! | Chicago Reader

I Want to Live!

Before the late Robert Wise got mired in superproductions like West Side Story and The Sound of Music he was a much-better-than-average noir specialist, and this 1958 account of a real-life prostitute and crook, Barbara Graham, who went to the gas chamber after reportedly being framed for murder, is a good example of his gritty realism and liberal vantage point. Susan Hayward won an Oscar for her lead performance, and Johnny Mandel's jazz score is a classic; the script is by Nelson Gidding and Don Mankiewicz. With Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel, and John Marley. 120 min.

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