When the small thriller MISCHIEF by Charlotte Armstrong was released in 1950 it was not predictable that it would become the movie DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK (1952) by British Director Roy Ward Baker - which was the first film for Anne Bancroft.
Pilot Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) looks out for a little female company after his girlfriend, the barsinger Lyn Lesley (Anne Bancroft), has left him. Vis-à-vis to his hotel room he spots Nell Forbes (Marilyn Monroe) in Room 809, who upon the recomandation of her Uncle Eddie (Elisha Cook, jr.) - the lift-attendant -, is baby-sitting Mrs. and Mr. Jones' (Lurene Tuttle and Jim Backus) daughter Bunny (Donna Corcoran). Jed walks over to have a flirt (and more) but Nell - who can't handle the death of the man she wanted to marry - is highly certifiably insane and dangerous - esp. for a little girl like Bunny..
Whatch out for:
- Jeanne Cagney - younger sister of some James Cagney (you may have heard of him..) performing as Rochelle, the switchboard operator.
- In the novel Nell's and Eddie's family name is Munro, which was changed when Marilyn Monroe was casted. Guess why..
- The film events take place in real time.
- Anne Bancroft, who was 20 when this film was released, is probably best-known as Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE (1967).
- You may know Elisha Cook, jr. as Wilmer Cook from THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).
- Jim Backus was the original voice of MISTER MAGOO of the TV series by the same name - resp. the following series THE FAMOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. MAGOO.
- The German title is VERSUCHUNG AUF 809 what means - translated literally - "Temptation in 809". In the novel the events take mainly place in the room next to 809..
- If you think the title music sound familiar - it is: It originated from 1950's PANIC IN THE STREETS.
- Donna Corcoran is the only member who is still alive - you may know her from MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (1952)- she portayed the 10 year old Annette Kellerman.
- It was Marilyn Monroe's 18. movie and her first leading part.
- It is said that because of a very small budget every scene was only shot once.
- 1991 there was a remake for TV - this time it was named: THE SITTER.
- There is another movie called DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK /WHY BOTHER TO KNOCK from 1962 with Elke Sommer and Judith Anderson which is not related to this one.
- You can hear Anne Bancroft sing "How About You", "A Rollin' Stone", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "How Blue The Night", "There's A Lull In My Life" and my favourite: "Manhattan". Boy, do I like that song..
- Drink rye or coke (or both if you like it..) and eat some sweets..
This time it is really hard for me to pick one single scene, so I say you'll make see this one: Uncle Eddie gets suspicious - and knocked out. Naughty, naughty Nell..
I have a soft spot for Marilyn Monroe's wardrobe - in any film of her - so: I adore the negligee Nell is "boworring" from Mrs. Jones and also like that inornate dress she wears in the beginning.
"Little girls aren't to be up at this hour."
Though I think the novel is much more suspensful - I like this film. Of course there are some modifications: The Anne Bancroft part was no singer, Jed was no pilot and they made Nell's background story more tragic - in the novel she is not mourning because of a loss of a beloved person. No, she is really mean and much more disturbed: it seems that she had killed her parents by burning down their house - and of course for this film they melt down some minor characters.. In the novel there is no clue about Nell being suicidal like it is in the movie.
I enjoy to see a more darker (mood not haircolour!) Marilyn Monroe. Not so much of her famous smile in here.
Goodbye - I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again?
"You won't cry anymore, will you?"