Kill Me If You Can (1977)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Docudrama, Message Movie, Prison Film  |   Release Date - Sep 25, 1977 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Richard Gilliam

Kill Me if You Can is the male counterpart to Susan Hayward's I Want to Live, with Alan Alda giving his finest performance as long-time criminal Caryl Chessman. At the time of his execution, Chessman had been on Death Row longer than anyone in U.S. history. He had been convicted of a crime that he probably did not commit, and the crime for which he was convicted was no longer a capital offense in California at the time he was executed. However, this film, and Alda's performance, leave no doubt that Chessman was guilty of many crimes for which he was not convicted, and the real-life Chessman had confessed as much in a stunningly written Death Row autobiography. Director Buzz Kulick uses the limitations of the television screen to create a claustrophobic view of the isolation in Chessman's life. As in I Want to Live, the execution scene is both intense and dramatic, with Talia Shire's performance providing an excellent counterpoint to Alda's.