Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)

 “You’re a gal with a lot of variations.”

In Don’t Bother to Knock, when an affluent society couple staying in a large New York hotel mention to bellhop, Eddie (Elisha Cook Jr.) that they need a babysitter for their daughter, Bunny, he suggests his niece, Nell (Marilyn Monroe). Nell arrives at Room 809 and she looks neat, and clean, but there’s something about her distracted manner that should ring alarm bells for any parent. Unfortunately, Mr. And Mrs. Jones float off for the evening leaving Nell in charge of Bunny while they attend a dinner in one of the hotel’s dining rooms.

Lounge singer Lyn Leslie (Anne Bancroft) is performing her usual evening routine when her beau, airline pilot, Jeb Towers (Richard Widmark) arrives. Lyn has decided to break up with Jeb because he’s cold, and he doesn’t “have an understanding heart.” Frustrated and irritated, Jeb goes back upstairs to his hotel room. Once in his room, Jeb spots Nell across the way, and on an impulse, he decides to call her and invite himself over.

The role of Nell allows Marilyn Monroe to really show her talent as an actress. She’s just amazing in this role, and if you haven’t seen the film, watching Monroe’s facial expressions will give you new respect for her talents. Jeb imagines he’s hit the jackpot when he finds this beautiful, lonely woman. When he sets eyes on Nell, he tells her, “you might have been a droopy looking job,” and as far as he’s concerned, he’s there in a hotel room with a beautiful stranger to have a no-strings attached evening. Ironically, Jeb finds himself involved up to his neck. Loaded with great one-liners, the film grows increasingly tenser as Nell unravels before Jeb’s eyes. Marilyn Monroe fans will love this film, and Widmark fans will be also pleased with his performance. Widmark does an excellent job of playing the irritated lover who wants to step on the rebound into another romance, but instead he has a pivotal experience of his lifetime. From director Roy Ward Baker.

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Filed under Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark

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