Who's That Knocking at My Door?

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Who's That Knocking At My Door is the directorial debut for Martin Scorsese, who also wrote the screenplay for this independent film. J.R. (Harvey Keitel) and his teenage pals hang around their neighborhood in New York's Little Italy. The boys pass their time drinking, cruising and picking up "broads" for sex while aspiring to a married life to the stereotypical virginal "good girl." On the Staten Island Ferry, he meets an educated, well spoken cinema buff (Zina Bethune). When she makes an amorous pass at J.R., he is shocked by her forward behavior. He and his buddies run off to a small town, where the loutish urbanites are uncomfortable out of their element. A remorseful J.R. tries to patch things up with the girl, who was the victim of rape earlier in her life. She rejects J.R. and ends the relationship because of his immaturity and mood swings. To satisfy the people who bankrolled the project, Harvey Keitel was flown to Holland where Scorsese was making an advertisement. A gratuitous sex scene was filmed with Ann Colette as part of an erotic dream sequence. Scorsese hated the end result of this forced insertion. He would go on to become one of America's best cinematographers in the years to follow. Harvey Keitel would also become a highly sought after actor in many films.


Michael Scala
as Sally Gaga
Ann Colette
as Young Girl in Dream
Wendy Russell
as Sally's Girl Friend
Philip Carlson
as Mountain Guide
Robert Uricola
as `Gunman' at Stag Party
Bill Minkin
as Iggy/Radio Announcer
Saskia Holleman
as Other Girls in Dream Fantasy
Tsuai Yu-Lan
as Other Girls in Dream Fantasy
Marieka Weathered
as Other Girls in Dream Fantasy
Catherine Scorsese
as J.R.'s Mother
Vic Magnotta
as Boys in Street Fight
Paul Di Bionde
as Boys in Street Fight
Thomas Aiello
as Minor Role (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Who's That Knocking at My Door?

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for Who's That Knocking at My Door?

  • Dec 04, 2016
    It's definitely not one of Scorsese's favorites, and probably for good reason. Who's That Knocking at My Door sees Scorsese in his debut without much polish or knack for how to effectively structure a feature debut. The problem with the film mostly falls on inexperience. Much like his second film, you see flashes of his greatness in camera movements and poise in developing likable character dynamics. Heck, he even showed promise in his screen writing abilities in a few scenes, and that's not even something he does all that often anymore. But with a low budget, sometimes sloppy editing, and a narrative that lacked substance, there isn't a whole lot to ride home about here. Certain aspects of the film reminded me about Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy, in that a good portion of the film just walking and talking. That, I found interesting. But I wasn't as invested in the story when it falls into the trap of gratuitous sex scenes and unnecessary yelling. Something, that Scorsese has been harped on later in his career, but it seemed really out of place in what was otherwise, a calm romance-drama. This is Scorsese's first feature, however. So perhaps certain narrative mishaps and editing issues should be forgiven, considering it underwent many changes during its production. It's also a far more artistically structured film than his subsequent movies, so by default it's more divisive. The characters just didn't connect with me. It plays more as an experiment than an experience, if that makes any sense. In all, there's flashes of the great Scorsese everyone loves, but not enough narratively here to make for a worthwhile viewing. +Interesting directing choices +Plenty of Scorsese staples -Narratively flawed -Not much substance -Gratuitous at times 4.6/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2010
    A convoluted mess, but still visually interesting.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2010
    The debut of the great Martin Scorsese. The story is so compelling, deep and interesting. What didn't really help was the screenplay that could have made the plot a lot more interesting, for what it's actually is. But taking it as an extension of a student film, "Who's that knocking at my door" is awesome. The movie also introduced Harvey Keitel, who like Scorsese will get world recognition, so in other terms this film was a rising of stars. The best thing in all of this was definitely the direction. Just Flawless ; especially noting the prostitutes scene and some shots near the end of the movie. You need to see this if you're a fan of Martin Scorsese, but if you're a lebanese girl, please stay away from it !!!
    Raja N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2010
    Harvey Keitel yapping on about The Searchers and other westerns was worth the entire movie, not to mention that it's Martin Scorsese's most cultured film. It's sort've brutal for being a light-hearted drama/romance. The shot after the opening credits of Keitel's gang beating up a teenager was interesting in that it is horriftingly nonchalant. A great debut in short.
    Conner R Super Reviewer

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