Don't Bother to Knock - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Don't Bother to Knock Reviews

Page 1 of 9
½ March 29, 2017
It spends about 40 minutes setting us up, which in a longer movie is forgivable, but this is under 80 minutes - how it delivers it's payoff is precious, and I'm pleased to say it doesn't disappoint. But for a good while, I didn't much care for what was happening. I enjoyed seeing Bancroft, who naturally radiates a charismatic heart to her every smile, look, walk - everything. I didn't feel Richard Widmark exuberated the debonair philanderer Jed was on paper, and sitting with that for awhile was turning me off. The film has two ideas to play on before it gets juicy - 1) what's behind Nell's exterior? 2) How will Jed getting in with another woman affect Lyn? But just after 40 minutes, the dark side of Nell comes over as she tempts herself to push little Bunny out the window. This is where things pick up. For awhile we suspect Nell's dark side may be that she's a thief or sorts, but it didn't cross my mind that she'd be insane.

While I find Marilyn Monroe to be a stale actress, what that's doing to set us up is actually quite clever. Nell is kind of acting to start things off, whether she's aware of that or not. She comes in demure, hand-me-down clothed, coy. The first instance of suspecting she's not who she pretends to be is after putting Bunny to bed as she prances through the home looking at jewelry, meanly switching off the radio, and eating chocolates, which she swore she didn't indulge in. Overall, her performance is effective as she transitions through the layers of the character. That's not easy for me to say - I'm not a fan.

Anne Bancroft's Lyn is the opposite of Nell, natural, charismatic - her character starts off trying to be over the man at the center of all this, Jed Towers (Richard Widmark), but really her problem with him is that he wears a cold exterior, and she wants to see him care about the world a little bit more. The film is as much about that arc in Jed as it is about revealing Nell.

I'd say as a whole the film is about revealing our other sides, including Lyn, who seems to be pretty cold towards Jed for a woman accusing someone of being cold. But we know she's not a cold person, her warmth comes through her singing more than her interactions. So it's about revealing what's there, and I like that they start off in a way that we don't buy who they're pretending to be, so that the twists are not stretches of the imagination. Widmark is far more effective in the second half of the film as he's forced to care. When he first comes into Bunny's room to ask if she wants a glass of water, that tenderness shows us the real Jed. The circumstances will continue to unravel this version of Jed than that phony thing we started off with.

Shoutout to Elisha Cook Jr, who I'm always delighted to see in anything. There's a moment where he grabs the back of his niece Nell's head, again showing us another side to a man who is mostly known as the friendly, harmless elevator guy. Once we see him afraid of losing his job and hiding in the closet, he's become a whole different person than who he started off as. It's interesting that he's also a victim of circumstance that he's partially responsible for creating. He's been entrusted by his word to get Nell the job in this building, to which she turns out to go crazy, which he knew she had in her but thought she was cured - he gets a nice whack to the head, which nearly kills him, for his ignorance.

The film is called Don't Bother to Knock, and usually when we think of knocking we think of doors. What's on the other side of that door that we shouldn't knock and find out? This film is about opening multiple doors to the soul and revealing what's further inside. As such, a window could replace the idea of a door - window to the soul - and that plays a theme too; Bunny hangning out the window, curious as to what life is happening behind the other windows, Jed and Nell meeting through each other's windows, the nosy neighbors gathering their suspicions through the window, a major reveal in Jed as he races to pull Bunny away from the window. Whether the knock is at a door or a window, the idea that one shouldn't bother is a hopeless gesture, declaring "I can't be saved from who I am, so don't bother trying." It's an ostensible expression, as said by a crestfallen person like Nell - it's not a truth, as proven by the fate of the film.
½ March 25, 2017
Non-conventional noir with Marilyn Monroe giving an unexpectedly powerful and convincing performance for a difficult character.
January 6, 2017
This one is a little odd, but Marilyn is clearly on a different level than everyone else.
½ December 23, 2016
Marilyn gives one of her best performances.
November 29, 2016
Don't Bother to Knock is an incredible film. It is about an airline pilot pursues a babysitter in his hotel after being dumped by his girlfriend. Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe give excellent performances. The screenplay is well written. Roy Ward Barker did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and mystery. Don't Bother to Knock is is a must see.
November 26, 2016
I watched this film because my mother had enjoyed it and told me about it. I enjoyed it as well. It's a very different Marilyn Monroe film, and worth watching. One has to remember it was filmed in 1954 ( I think) so I would call it a "proto-thriller." In other words, it predates Psycho and other nail-biters, and as such might be viewed as as a bit more "tame." Nevertheless, I thought Marilyn's performance was on par with the other major stars (Ann Bancroft, Richard Widmark and others).
September 21, 2016
I really enjoyed this Roy Ward Baker film noir with Richard Widmark and early appearances by Anne Bancroft (singing, even!), Jim Backus and Marilyn Monroe. It's short and sweet, neither overstating its point nor overstaying its welcome. Monroe plays a suicidal fish-out-of-water, who has just moved to New York City from Oregon to overcome a troubled past and start again, falling quickly in love with a pilot who's clearly on the rebound, and the trials and tribulations that follow. Very rewarding both for fans of Monroe and the genre.

Just a couple of years back, I picked up this mammoth 17-film DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe's films for a really good price, only to find that the ridiculous way the discs were placed in the digipack basically ruined them, and after watching the movies the best that I could, I reluctantly had to part with it, hoping the set would soon be released at a decent price on the more resilient blu (as you can tell, I'm old-school and low-fi, but I'm hoping to quickly remedy this problem!).

As you can tell by any of my prior reviews of Richard Widmark's films, I'm a huge fan of his, and he's easily one of my favourite and most entertaining and watchable actors of the period. As well, Roy Ward Baker is one of the most underrated directors of the period--his entry in The Criterion Collection, 'A Night to Remember', is easily the best telling of the 'Titanic' tragedy. Thus simply on the basis of those three alone, I heartily recommend the film to any adventurous cinephiles of this era.
September 21, 2016
I really enjoyed this Roy Ward Baker film noir with Richard Widmark and early appearances by Anne Bancroft (singing, even!), Jim Backus and Marilyn Monroe. It's short and sweet, neither overstating its point nor overstaying its welcome. Monroe plays a suicidal fish-out-of-water, who has just moved to New York City from Oregon to overcome a troubled past and start again, falling quickly in love with a pilot who's clearly on the rebound, and the trials and tribulations that follow. Very rewarding both for fans of Monroe and the genre.

Just a couple of years back, I picked up this mammoth 17-film DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe's films for a really good price, only to find that the ridiculous way the discs were placed in the digipack basically ruined them, and after watching the movies the best that I could, I reluctantly had to part with it, hoping the set would soon be released at a decent price on the more resilient blu (as you can tell, I'm old-school and low-fi, but I'm hoping to quickly remedy this problem!).

As you can tell by any of my prior reviews of Richard Widmark's films, I'm a huge fan of his, and he's easily one of my favourite and most entertaining and watchable actors of the period. As well, Roy Ward Baker is one of the most underrated directors of the period--his entry in The Criterion Collection, 'A Night to Remember', is easily the best telling of the 'Titanic' tragedy. Thus simply on the basis of those three alone, I heartily recommend the film to any adventurous cinephiles of this era.
August 17, 2016
Review contains spoilers

This is a movie that Marilyn Monroe fans should really watch if not just for here performance..She was so vulnerable and lost in the movie, yes she was psychologically traumatized by the loss of her boyfriend in the war and Richard Widmark an incredible actor, became her obsession in a way. She was so lonely, and couldn't really except the loss of her boyfriend that she kinda believed that Richard Widmark was her boyfriend. She was sad and dangerous, to herself and the kids she was watching and you understood and felt for her at the same time. She was lost and what i felt was so great about this film was that through all of the suspense and tense moments, Richard Widmark really cared for her and knew she needed help and when they came to take her away to the mental hospital again, Richard Widmark stepped in and told her he would go with her. Such a great understated and hopeful ending, that he wouldn't just abandon her. I'd definitely recommend this movie.
July 17, 2016
You're a girl with lots of variations.

A couple with their daughter has an event at a hotel and the elevator operator tells the couple on the way to their room he knows a young lady that can babysit their child if they need her. The parents jump at the opportunity and the elevator operator's niece takes the job. She falls in love with the man across the hall and things get very intense when the niece's plans go left. The young girl's life quickly becomes at risk as the niece becomes obsessed with the man...

"Don't be a peeping pansy."

Roy Ward Baker, director of A Night to Remember, Asylum, Five Million Years to Earth, The Monster Club, The Switch, The Vault of Horror, and Journey to Midnight, delivers Don't Bother to Knock. The storyline for this picture is awesome and comes together beautifully. This is a fantastic thriller with excellent characters, script, and a remarkable conclusion. The cast delivers perfect performances and includes Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark, Anne Bancroft, Lurene Tuttle, and Elisha Cook.

"You won't cry again, will you?"

I recently found this on Netflix and had to watch this classic Monroe picture. This quickly became my all-time favorite Monroe film. This is a thriller in the mold of Hitchcock and I was thoroughly impressed by the evolution of this film. This is brilliantly written and delivered and worth adding to your classic DVD collection.

"They told her she was practically cured."

Grade: A+
½ July 15, 2016
Marilyn wasn't just a pretty face, she was a good actress. This movie is her best (in my opinion).
½ June 22, 2016
This film noir is a slow burn, and it exhibits a truly haunting side of Marilyn Monroe that must be experienced to be believed.
June 12, 2016
Short and to the point. Monroe is tremendous.
April 9, 2016
Marilyn Monroe plays a looney, sometimes unconvincingly, just so the star, Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) can convince his girl that he cares about others. Yeah, it' tame 1950's fodder.
December 14, 2015
It's a pleasure to see Marilyn in a serious role of a psychotic suicidal young woman, and she does it very convincingly. A Marilyn Monroe classic.
½ June 28, 2015
My favorite Marilyn Monroe film, and without question her best, most complex, and interesting performance.
½ June 17, 2015
Very good movie, with Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn plays a suicidal babysitter. Fine acting for her first leading role.
June 9, 2014
A disturbing knockout of a performance by Monroe--Atmospheric and Efficient... Razor sharp!!
July 2, 2013
not a typical dumb-blonde, but a psycho baby sitter. something different from marilyn monroe.
½ April 15, 2013
Richard Widmark is the typical noir fall guy who makes a fatal mistake that leads to the fickle finger of fate poking him in the eye (and he's lucky because it could have been worse). In this case, after getting dumped by his gal Anne Bancroft because of his lack of empathy, Widmark ends up flirting with Marilyn Monroe through his window which looks out into her hotel room (or actually the hotel room where she is baby-sitting). You see, Elisha Cook has gotten her this job but she's never baby-sat before, has only just arrived in New York, and seems to have some other concerns. The tension actually mounts pretty high and although the denouement is a bit pat, this is a fine short noir with believable portrayals all around.
Page 1 of 9