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A Rage to Live is a 1965 Americanmarker drama film directed by Walter Grauman and starring Suzanne Pleshette as a woman whose passions wreak havoc on her life. The screenplay by John T. Kelley is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by John O'Hara.


Newspaper heiress Grace Caldwell's nymphomania threatens to destroy the reputation of her staid, wealthy Pennsylvaniamarker family. As a precocious teenager, she succumbs to the advances of her older brother Brock's friend Charlie Jay, a decision that apparently ignites her passion for all men.

After a series of meaningless dalliances with strange men in cheap motel rooms, she meets San Franciscomarker real estate broker Sidney Tate at a Christmas party. The two fall in love and he proposes marriage, prompting Grace to confess about her past. Despite being taken aback by her candid revelations, Sidney still wants to marry her, and she commits herself to a monogamous 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.

Problems ensue when lusty contractor Roger Bannon, the son of one of her mother's former servants, arrives to repair their barn and seduces Grace. When she eventually tries to end the affair, he becomes enraged, gets drunk, and accidentally crashes his truck, killing himself. Reports of his death include details about his tryst with Grace, prompting her husband to wonder if she also is involved with newspaper editor Jack Hollister, a suspicion shared by Jack's wife Amy. Brandishing a gun, she publicly confronts Grace at a charity event and attempts suicide but is rescued by Sidney who, realizing that Grace never will change, decides the time has come to begin a new life with his son and leaves his wife.


Critical reception

Variety said, "In this banal transfer from tome to film, the characters in John O'Hara's A Rage to Live have retained their two-dimensional unreality . . . Nympho heroine goes from man to man amidst corny dialog and inept direction which combine to smother all thesps."

TV Guide rates it 1½ out of a possible four stars and adds, "In the transfer from novel to screen, O'Hara's characters have been transformed from vital, living personalities into stiff, unmotivated soap opera fodder."

Awards and nominations

Howard Shoup was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black and White but lost to Julie Harris for Darling.


  1. Variety review
  2. TV Guide review

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