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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Don't Bother To Knock (1952)

After breaking up with his girlfriend (Anne Bancroft in her film debut), an airline pilot (Richard Widmark) spots a beautiful girl (Marilyn Monroe) in a window across the way from his hotel room. Lonely, he invites himself over. But what he doesn't know is that she's just recently released from a mental hospital and unstable. Based on the novel MISCHIEF by Charlotte Armstrong and directed by Roy Ward Baker (QUATERMASS AND THE PIT). This is a nifty B&W psychological thriller with noir-ish undertones at a tight and economical hour and 16 minutes. Not yet the love goddess she would soon become the next year in films like GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, Monroe gives an unsettling performance as the mousy (but not for long) babysitter suffering from mental illness. Clearly, she had the acting chops early in her career before being typecast as a blonde bombshell. As always (well, except for SAINT JOAN), Widmark is wonderful. Handsomely shot in B&W by Lucien Ballard (THE WILD BUNCH). With Elisha Cook Jr, Donna Corcoran, Jim Backus, Lurene Tuttle, Verna Felton, Willis Bouchey and Jeanne Cagney.       

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