Don’t Bother to Knock – an excellent drama, where babysitter Marilyn Monroe seduces Richard Widmark … before exposing her psychotic side.
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) starring Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark
In Don’t Bother to Knock, I was truly impressed with Marilyn Monroe’s acting ability. It’s an excellent drama, with very good performances all around. It begins with a beautiful young lady who comes to a fancy hotel. She has a job as a babysitter for a couple there, thanks to her uncle, the elevator operator.
While baby-sitting in a hotel, a beautiful woman (Marilyn Monroe) begins a flirtation with one of the hotel’s guests (Richard Widmark). Rebounding from a breakup with his girlfriend (Anne Bancroft), he’s willingly seduced by the baby-sitter and ends up in bed with her. When the child wakes up and disturbs their lovemaking, the baby-sitter reveals homicidal tendencies and terrorizes them both. A frightening and provocative exploration of a murderer’s mind.
Cast of characters
- Richard Widmark (O. Henry’s Full House) … Jed Towers. The airplane pilot, after a fight with his girlfriend, pursues and hooks up with Nell. Only to find out how vicious, and psychotic she is.
- Marilyn Monroe (Clash By Night, All About Eve) … Nell Forbes. The pretty young lady, with a very dark side. She’s supposed to be babysitting Bunny. But she allows herself to be seduced by Jed. And when Bunny interrupts them, she wants to kill her. But settles for tying her up in a chair and gagging her.
- Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker) … Lyn Lesley. Jed’s girlfriend, who has a fight with him.
- Donna Corcoran (Angels in the Outfield (1951)) … Bunny Jones. The young girl that Nell is supposed to be babysitting.
- Jeanne Cagney (The Time of Your Life) … Rochelle
- Lurene Tuttle (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House) … Ruth Jones. Bunny’s mother. Nell’s treatment of Bunny shocks her.
- Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon, The House on Haunted Hill (1958)) … Eddie Forbes. He gets Nell the job babysitting, to help her out. And later on, she beats him unconscious.
- Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island season 1, Critic’s Choice) … Peter Jones. Bunny’s father.
- Verna Felton (Sleeping Beauty) … Mrs. Ballew
- Willis Bouchey (Red Planet Mars, Support Your Local Sheriff) … Joe – the Bartender
- Don Beddoe (Blondie on a Budget) … Mr. Ballew
- First dramatic leading role for Marilyn Monroe.
- When Nell first learns her visitor is a pilot, her hand instinctively covers her scarred wrist, a clue to her disturbed past.
- The classic Hollywood “old man, young woman” trope: Richard Widmark was 37, while Anne Bancroft was 20 and Marilyn Monroe was 26 when filming completed.
- This film has a 100% rating based on 11 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
- The house detective’s sarcastic remark about his call is a play on the wartime sign of of American radio commentator Gabriel Heatter…”There’s good news tonight!”