When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
The titular river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Mrs. Emma Ballew:
After all, we guests who live here from year to year, we deserve a little consideration, too.
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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.
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