I WANT TO LIVE! (1958) B/W widescreen 121m dir: Robert Wise
w/Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel, Wesley Lau, Philip Coolidge, Lou Krugman, James Philbrook, Bartlett Robinson, Gage Clark
From The Movie Guide: "Unswerving, uneasy, unbeatable crime melodrama with a shattering Susan Hayward gathering all her glory into a performance without one false note. For devotees of Miss Hayward, this is the one to study; it feels and looks like life.
"The nasty plot has Hayward playing real-life Barbara Graham, whose sensational trial brought her a conviction and death sentence that made her a nationwide cause celebre. The film depicts Graham, the product of a broken home, as a classic bad girl: perjurer, prostitute, thief. ...
"Hayward's performance is so intense, and the film so grim, it's exhausting, watching her suffer through one agony after another. Wise directs with the perspective that Hayward/Graham was innocent all along, although the film offers little evidence to support this claim (the most insistent being Graham's repeated and vociferous insistence of her innocence), a stance that brought universal criticism from law enforcement agencies. For the most part, the hapless heroine is portrayed as a social victim. Hayward had been denied the Oscar for many deserving performances in the past --- SMASH-UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN, MY FOOLISH HEART, I'LL CRY TOMORROW --- but this time the Academy could not ignore her bravura. The ensemble cast is uniformly excellent and believable. Wise's direction is relentlessly gloomy and swift, telling Graham's story in adroitly crafted scenes; mention should also be made of Gerry Mulligan's fine rendering of Johnny Mandel's classic jazz soundtrack."
Besides Hayward's Best Actress Oscar, I WANT TO LIVE! was also nominated for Best Director, Adapted Screenplay (Nelson Gidding & Don Mankiewicz, based on newspaper articles by Ed Montgomery and the letters of Barbara Graham), B&W Cinematography (Lionel Lindon), Editing (William Hornbeck), and Sound (Gordon Sawyer).