NEW YORK — I WANT TO LIVE!
Susan Hayward won the Academy Award for best actress of 1958 with her rip-roaring portrayal of Barbara Graham, who became a household word in the mid-'50s when she went on trial for a murder she swore she didn't commit. Filmed at a time when Hollywood movies were shaking off prudish censorship codes and searching for new material, Robert Wise's drama is both a hard-hitting emotional experience and a tough-minded look at the American criminal-justice system. It gives special attention to the loss of identity suffered by defendants - particularly women - placed under the scalding gaze of a sensation-hungry public and a money-driven press. Simon Oakland and Theodore Bikel head the excellent supporting cast. John Mandel's jazz score is played by an all-star combo including Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne, Art Farmer, Bud Shank, and Red Mitchell. Released in the Vintage Classics cassette series. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)
THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS - James Stewart gives a vintage performance as legendary flyer Charles A. Lindbergh, determined to make the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean way back in 1927. Billy Wilder, a German-born filmmaker known for the sharp-witted cynicism of pictures like "The Apartment" and "Some Like It Hot," set aside his acerbic personality and Continental sophistication to make this colorful 1957 drama a truly inspirational journey into American history and myth. Released in the Warner Bros. Classics cassette series. (Not rated; Warner Home Video)
THE WIFE - Trendy psychobabble and new-age life-styles are meticulously dissected and subtly satirized in this mournful comedy-drama about a wretched dinner party. It stars Tom Noonan and Julie Hagerty as hipper-than-thou therapists and Wallace Shawn and Karen Young as an insecure patient and his working-class wife. Noonan directed from his own screenplay, and few filmmakers this side of the late John Cassavetes have probed human relationships with more dogged honesty. (Not rated; Fox Lorber/Orion Home Video)