I Want to Live! is based on the life of Barbara Graham, who was convicted of murdering Mabel Monahan, a Californian widow. From the minute Barbara starts off in the world, it seems her life is meant to be in shambles. Her Mother was a troublesome teen, when she had Barbara, and when Barbara was just 2 years old, her Mother was sent to reformatory school. She didn't know her parents very well, and grew up with little knowledge of them.
When Barbara grew up, things just became worse. Barbara was heavily into drugs by her teens and was prostituting as a mean for some extra money. She had been arrested several times on lesser charges but in 1953, her fate was sealed. Barbara along with two accomplices were arrested for the murder of Mabel Monahan, a 64 year old widow. Her two accomplices, Emmett Perkins and Jack Santo both accused Barbara of the murder, in which they tried to protect themselves, but all three would get the gas chamber.
On June 3rd 1955, Barbara along with her accomplices were put to death. Barbara was 31 years old, two weeks shy of her 32nd birthday.
Susan plays the role of Barbara Graham so convincingly and real, at times, I felt sympathetic towards her character.
With this being my "first" real Susan Hayward movie, I really thought she was amazing. She was sarcastic, sad, charming, and honest. She certainly deserved to win the Oscar for her performance as Barbara Graham; truly amazing! The film had this documentary feel to it, and I felt like I was there watching the actual events occur. Nothing was too stagy and the performances were raw and real. Supporting players were fantastic as well, even though I never heard of any of them.
Next Film on the List: Smash Up: The Story of a Woman