Rage to Live, A (1965): Walter Grauman’s Melodrama, Starring Suzanne Pleshette as Sexually Voracious Femme

Walter Grauman directed A Rage to Live, a preposterous melodrama starring Suzanne Pleshette as a woman whose unbridled sexual passions wreak havoc on her life.

Grade: C- (* out of *****)

A Rage to Live

film poster by Renato Fratini

John T. Kelley’s script is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by John O’Hara.

The sexual voraciousness of newspaper heiress Grace Caldwell (Pleshette) threatens to destroy the reputation of her wealthy Pennsylvania family.

As a precocious teenager, she is assaulted in her own house by her older brother Brock’s friend Charlie Jay, to whom she finally yields willingly, the first of a long series of lovers.

Grace goes on in her path of seduction, until she meets San Francisco real estate broker Sidney Tate at a Christmas party. The two fall in love and he proposes marriage.

Grace confesses her past but despite being taken aback, Sidney marries her and she commits herself to a relationship, a pledge she keeps for the first few years of their union, which produces a son and a seemingly idyllic life on a farm.

In the unsuccessful transfer from O’Hara’s best selling novel to screen, his characters have been transformed from vital figures into stiff two-dimensional, resulting in a soap opera fodder. The nympho heroine goes from man to man, and from one scandal to another, amidst corny dialog and inept direction, which makes the movie preposterous.


Directed by Walter Grauman
Produced by Lewis J. Rachmil
Written by John O’Hara (novel), John T. Kelley
Music by Nelson Riddle
Cinematography Charles Lawton Jr.
Edited by Stuart Gilmore

Production company: The Mirisch Corporation

Distributed by United Artists

Release date: October 20, 1965
Running time: 101 minutes