A Commander receives a citation for an attack on General Erwin Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved, as the Commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.
Andrew Morton is an attorney who made it out of the slums. Nick Romano is his client, a young man with a long string of crimes behind him. After he lost his paycheck gambling, hoping to buy his wife some jewelry, she announced she was pregnant, Later he finds her dead from suicide. When he turns again to robbery he's caught by a cop and Nick pumps all his bullets into him in frustration. Morton's appeal to the court emphasizes the evils of the slums.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Humphrey Bogart offered Marlon Brando the role of Nick Romano, even visiting him backstage at a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". Brando lost interest but loved Nick's coda: "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse." See more »
In court, when Morton stands up for the first time, he puts both hands in his pockets. The next shot shows him with only his left hand in the pocket. See more »
Knock on Any Door was Humphrey Bogart's first film after leaving Warner Brothers. He and his Santana productions did a few for Columbia at that time.
It's a throwback film to the Thirties, a time it was seen that all cures to society's ills was a better social program. That's the message that attorney Bogart was driving home to the jury, that for a few better breaks his client John Derek would be a solid citizen.
Actually during the course of the film, what we see of John Derek's life showed he had some opportunities and blew them. It also did show that the family had some rotten luck. A mixed message to say the least.
The film shows Bogart as an attorney and his involvement over the years with young John Derek who was making his screen debut. Derek has been arrested for killing a policeman after a bar stickup and he turns to Bogart for help. The first part of the film is Bogart's opening remarks to the jury at the murder trial and we see in flashback, Derek's life and how it intertwined with Bogart's.
The second half was the trial itself and the aftermath. George MacReady as the District Attorney probably gave the best performance in the movie. Another reviewer described MacReady as evil. Granted he usually is in his roles, but here he's just one very effective prosecutor.
Yet Knock On Any Door, confused as it is, does still raise some relevant questions. The scenes in the reform school are still being shown today and had their not been Code restrictions might have been more graphic. I only have to cite the movie Sleepers from a few years back.
Bogart fans will like it and John Derek certainly merited the nickname "pretty boy."
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