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Don't Bother To Knock

review by Zach B.



Not Rated

Running Time: 76 minutes

Starring: Richard Widmark, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft, Donna Corcoran, Jeanne Cagney, Lurene Tuttle, Elisha Cook, Jr., Jim Backus, Verna Felton, Willis B. Bouchey, Don Beddoe

Screenplay by: Daniel Taradash
Based on a novel by: Charlotte Armstrong

Directed by: Roy Baker


Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Theatrical Trailers, Restoration Comparison, Still Gallery

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, English Mono, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection

Released: May 14th, 2002



Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) is an airline pilot staying at a New York hotel where his girlfriend Lyn (Anne Bancroft) is a lounge singer. One night, while Nell (Mariyln Monroe) is babysitting Bunny Jones at the hotel, Jed notices her and the two meet up. Everything seems smooth sailing... until Bunny catches them. From there, Nell goes crazy and becomes disillusioned that Jed is her long lost fiance. From there, many things happen and Nell, a seemingly sweet innocent young lady is a very screwed up individual.

Like Niagara, this is another film that showcases a darker side of Marilyn Monroe. Thankfully, she is well up to the task here and proves that she was an actress with great range, and wasn't limited to the musical comedy genre. Monroe more or less plays a madwoman here, becoming obsessive, dark creepy and downright disturbing. Yet with that, she plays it with some sense of innocence. She offers solid delivery and strong mannerisms to make the character Nell believable. This is one of Monroe's best performances and really breaks her out of what so many see her as.

Unfortunatly, the film isn't as good. I did enjoy the movie, and is quite short running around an hour and a fifteen minutes, but I felt there could have been more to the movie and some scenes are not even needed, and act as pointless filler. There could have been more development, in my opinion, to Jed himself and his relationship with Lyn. There are some good moments in the movie, and a very strong cast who really drive the film, but I felt a lot of the movie kept building up, and the pay off wasn't major. Still, it's very well acted and enjoyable, and it's even sorta noir-ish. Monroe fans, it's a must see. But if you like hidden pasts sorta deal and characters instantly changing with deceptive appearances, "Don't Bother To Knock" is for you.


"Don't Bother To Knock" is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and in all of its black and white glory. Like the other Monroe films in this collection and the last one, all of the films have been restored. It's really quite amazing what can be done. There is some noise and shimmering here, but the detail is very good and much of the image is sharp. Yes, there is some grain, but it's not too bad. Same goes for pieces of dirt and little marks on the print. Overall, great job from the restoration team. No one should be displeased with the image.


There's not much to the English stereo track. Background noises such as music or sudden sound effects don't really enhance what's going on, it feels like it's just there. The elements are intact though, and dialogue is easy to hear and it's pretty clear. There's not too much to say since there are limits to the stereo track, and there's not much to it. Also included is an English mono track, English closed captions, Spanish subtitles and English subtitles.


The Restoration Comparison gives a nice and lengthy text intro of how the restoration of the print was done, and what could be restored and what couldn't. It may move to fast for some of you, can you can't pause the text, so you may have to start it up a few times. Four short examples are shown. The differences aren't too drastic, but the look of the film is no longer burned out or very bright. It does add up though. A nice Still Gallery is included, most of the pictures from the film itself.

Finally, we have Theatrical Trailers, one for each film in the second Marilyn Monroe collection. The "Niagara" trailer is in full frame, "Let's Make Love" in non-anamorphic widescreen, "Don't Bother To Knock" in full frame, "Monkey Business" in full frame and "River Of No Return" in anamorphic widescreen. Plus, a trailer for the original Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection.


"Don't Bother To Knock" is a breezy, short and enjoyable film that's ultimatly flawed by its clever premise and story. Still, Monroe's haunting portrayl of Nell is worth seeing, and this DVD offers an average stereo mix, a wonderful new restoration of the movie and your usual Monroe extras. Diehard Monroe fans... this is a keeper. Other DVD watchers, a rental will suffice.