This week on Night Lights it's "I Want to Live!" Based on the true story of accused murderess Barbara Graham, this 1958 movie employed a jazz soundtrack written by Johnny Mandel and performed by such jazz stalwarts as Gerry Mulligan, Bud Shank and Art Farmer (who appeared in the movie's opening scenes), along with Frank Rosolino, Jack Sheldon, and Shelly Manne. Susan Hayward (who met a grisly demise in many of her films from the 1940s and 1950s) played Graham, a woman with a troubled past and a real-life jazz and Gerry Mulligan fan who was eventually executed in 1955, despite her protestations of innocence. (Debate continues today over whether or not she actually committed the murder for which she was convicted.) Hayward won an Academy Award for her performance in the movie, which was directed by Hoosier native Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story, The Haunting, The Sound of Music) We'll hear music from both versions of the soundtrack that were released, as well as more background on the story behind Barbara Graham and the making of the movie.
"I Want to Live!" airs tonight at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 10 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It also airs tomorrow (Sunday) evening at 10 p.m. EST on Blue Lake Public Radio in Michigan.
(Note: Since since this program is a repeat, it's already archived for online listening. You can also watch the movie's trailer as well as a clip from the film itself (featuring Susan Hayward as a partying Barbara Graham).
Next week: "Jazz and Jack Kerouac."