Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  August 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,714 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 23 critic

An airline pilot, dumped by his girlfriend, pursues a baby-sitter in his hotel...and gradually realizes she's dangerous.


(as Roy Baker)


(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Jed Towers
Lyn Lesley
Donna Corcoran ...
Bunny Jones
Jeanne Cagney ...
Ruth Jones
Eddie Forbes
Peter Jones
Mrs. Ballew
Joe the Bartender (as Willis B. Bouchey)
Mr. Ballew
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emmett Vogan ...
Toastmaster (unconfirmed)


Airline pilot Jed stays at the New York hotel where girlfriend Lyn is a singer. He sees Nell in a window opposite his and they get chummy. When the girl she's baby-sitting, Bunny, enters Nell goes crazy and sends her to her room. She fantasizes that Jed is her long lost fiance. Jed comes to realize that Nell is more than a little whacko. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHE'S DYNAMITE! It Opens the Door on the Screen's Most Exciting New Personality---MARILYN MONROE See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mischief  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film is the Hollywood film debut of British director Roy Baker. See more »


When Lyn and Jed get photographed in the bar by the camera lady, she snaps only one picture of them. When she brings the novelty items (handkerchief, matchbook, ashtray, and postcard) to their booth minutes later, the handkerchief shows a slightly different pose than the others. See more »


[first lines]
Mrs. Emma Ballew: After all, we guests who live here from year to year, we deserve a little consideration, too.
See more »


Referenced in 42nd Street Forever: XXX-Treme Special Edition (2007) See more »


How Blue the Night
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Sung by Anne Bancroft or dubber over speaker
See more »

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User Reviews

Sad . . . disturbing . . .
12 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On so many levels. Not just because of the character Marilyn Monroe played . . . but also because of the course she afterwards chose to take, as a performer.

In life, MM was never the dumb-blonde clown she so often portrayed on film. Yet she chose to follow that path of "marketability" from her earliest days -- perhaps because of advice -- "The only thing I had on was the radio," she famously said regarding her early calendar shoot (though that quote was delivered to her by her public relations handler).

Yet, in "Don't Bother to Knock," we have evidence of a talent far deeper and more affecting than anything she ever did, before or since.

Though then, and still, a B-movie, DBTK remains a highly disturbing piece of work from a remarkable natural actress who subsequently decided to pursue -- who knows, whether from instinct, advice or "the line of least resistance" -- a career based on superficial appearance rather than emotive depth.

Finally, of course, she morphed into the silly, slithering, sewn-into-her-Jean-Louis-gown "songstress" at President Kennedy's birthday party in Madison Square Garden in 1962, all drug-addled spray-netted helmet-haired breathiness and off-key baby-voiced "vocalizing." In DBTK, however, is ample evidence of the powerfully effective actress she could have been, had she taken a different road.

This is not to criticize the choices she made as a performer.

Doubtless, she would not be the legend she remains today, had she lived into her 60s or 70s.

But DBTK remains an archive of a complex and affecting screen acting talent, caught at the fork in her career's road, who chose surface over substance.

No matter how beguiling MM will always remain as a screen icon, there is this one and only proof of a talent even more devastating -- had she the guts or the advice to honor and follow it.

Sad, and disturbing, indeed.

51 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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