I Want to Live (1958), starring Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland
In I Want to Live, a low-level criminal is convicted of beating an elderly woman to death. She’s then sentenced to die. But the question is, is she guilty? Can a reporter uncover enough evidence to overturn her conviction, before it’s too late? A truly great performance by Susan Hayward.
Barbara Graham: I never even knew the dame.
Police lieutenant: You know she’s been murdered, don’t you?
Barbara Graham: Yeah. So was Julius Caesar. I didn’t know him either.
Product description of I Want to Live
Prostitute, party girl, perjurer, bad-check passer, petty criminal. She’s all this and more…but is she a murderer? Susan Hayward won 1958’s Best Actress Academy Award(r) for her “sensational, nerve-shattering performance” (Los Angeles Times) in this harrowing, “must-see” (The Motion Picture Guide) tale that will leave you breathless with suspense. Arrested for fatally beating an elderly widow, Barbara Graham (Hayward) at first goads the police, refusing to answer their questions. But when an alleged accomplice turns state’s evidence, Graham insists that she’s innocent. Condemned by the press and the public, Graham is found guilty of murder and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. But as her execution date nears, Graham desperately attempts to expose the truth and save her life against all odds.
Barbara Graham: [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.
Cast of characters
- Susan Hayward (House of Strangers, Demetrius and the Gladiators) … Barbara Graham
- Simon Oakland (Psycho, Kolchak: The Night Stalker) … Edward S. ‘Ed’ Montgomery
- Virginia Vincent (Million Dollar Duck) … Peg
- Theodore Bikel (My Fair Lady, I Bury the Living) … Carl G.G. Palmberg
- Wesley Lau … Henry L. Graham
- Philip Coolidge (Never A Dull Moment, The Tingler) … Emmett Perkins
- Lou Krugman … John R. ‘Jack’ Santo
- James Philbrook … Bruce King
- Bartlett Robinson (No Time for Sergeants) … District Attorney Milton
- Gage Clarke … Attorney Richard G. Tibrow
- Joe De Santis … Al Matthews
- John Marley (Cat Ballou) … Father Devers
- Raymond Bailey (The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Beverly Hillbillies) … San Quentin Warden
- Alice Backes … Barbara, San Quentin Nurse
- Gertrude Flynn … San Quentin Matron
- Russell Thorson (36 Hours) … San Quentin Sgt.
- Dabbs Greer (It! The Terror from Beyond Space) … San Quentin Capt.
- Stafford Repp (Batman – The Movie) … Police Sgt.
- Gavin MacLeod (McHale’s Navy Season 1, The Love Boat) … Police Lt.
- Wendell Holmes … Detective