Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 30th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1958
Director: Robert Wise
Writers: Nelson Gidding, Don Mankiewicz
Cast: Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel, Wesley Lau, Philip Coolidge, Lou Krugman, James Philbrook, Bartlett Robinson, Gavin MacLeod, Brett Halsey
BluRay released: November 15th, 2016
Approximate running times: 121 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
I Want to Live! Was directed by Robert Wise whose other notable films include, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Odds Against Tomorrow, West Side Story, The Sound of Music and The Haunting. Key collaborators on I Want to Live! Include, cinematographer Lionel Lindon (The Blue Dahlia, The Manchurian Candidate) and composer Johnny Mandel (Point Blank, MASH).
The plot for this film was loosely adapted from the letters written by Barbara Graham and real life reenactments of the events which lead to her incarceration and execution. And though it should not come as a surprise that this film diverts from the facts in order to make the story more cinematic. The end result is a riveting melodrama that never strays away from what makes this story so utterly compelling.
From a production stand point this film does not miss a beat. Pacing is never an issue as the well-constructed narrative does a superb job letting key moments reach the height of their potency. Another strength of this film is its visuals which take full advantage of inch of the frame. There are no throw away moments in this film which does a fantastic job capturing the mood of the world closing in on its protagonist. Besides the film’s ending. Another standout moment visually is the scene where Barbara Graham is finally taken into custody. Perhaps the most surprising asset of this film is its leading lady Susan Hayward (The Snows of Kilimanjaro) in the role of Barbara Graham. What else can be said, that has not been said about her tour deforce performance which won her an academy award. This is clearly her show and every moment she is onscreen she dominates all other performances.
I Want to Live! comes on a 50 GB dual layer (31.6 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in great shape. Details look crisp, contrast and black levels remain strong throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight page booklet with an essay about the film written by Julie Kirgo, MGM’s 90th Anniversary Trailer (2 minutes 4 seconds), a trailer for the film (2 minutes 20 seconds) and an Isolated score track with an audio commentary segment with Robert Wise Associate Mike Matessino.
The Isolated score / commentary track opens with a brief intro from Mike Matessino. Then the film’s score is planned in its entirety and at around the thirty-three-minute mark Mike Matessino talks for about twenty minutes. Topics discussed include, the real-life crime that this film was adapted from, reality verse what ended up onscreen, Susan Hayward and information about her, Robert Wise, the screenplay and the score.
Overall another solid release from Twilight Time.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.