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Before she found her niche and became one of the biggest stars the studio had ever known, 20th Century Fox featured a rising contract player named Marilyn Monroe in a number of lightweight supporting roles. Of her pre-superstardom roles, the one that really stands out was in a noir-ish potboiler called DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK. This particular film afforded Marilyn Monroe a chance to display a great deal of emotional depth and take her performance to the dark side of human despair. In DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK, Monroe portrays Nell Forbes, the niece of a hotel elevator operator, who offers her services as babysitter to a couple of hotel guests.

At first, the audience is lead to believe that Nell is just a sad little small town girl who is having difficulty adjusting to big city life. However, as it turns out, Nell is emotionally disturbed and delusional, which allows her to mistake another hotel guest named Jed Towers (Richard Widmark), for a boyfriend that was killed in a plane crash several years earlier. Loosing herself in an attempt "rekindle" her relationship, Nell begins to go off the deep end when the little girl for whom she is babysitting comes between her and the man she loves. DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK proves to be a very entertaining melodrama that benefits from its solid leading performances and tight, suspenseful direction from Roy Baker. The supporting cast of DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK features Anne Bancroft, Donna Corcoran, Jeanne Cagney, Lurene Tuttle, Elisha Cook Jr., Jim Backus and Verna Felton.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK available on DVD in a fine looking full screen transfer that frames the movie in its proper 1.37:1 aspect ratio. The black and white film element used for the transfer has had some restoration work and appears to be in very good shape, with only minor blemishes serving as reminders that this movie is a half-century-old. Film grain is ever present in the image, but it really suits the dark, noir-ish cinematography and really makes the DVD experience like watching a movie and not just a video. The image is generally crisp and provides a very nice level of detail throughout the course of the film. Blacks are quite velvety and whites appear completely stable. Contrast is very good, and the picture produces plenty of subtlety in the grayscale. Although DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK runs a tight seventy-six minutes, the film has been authored on a dual layer DVD with no signs of digital compression artifacts.

DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK is offered on DVD with a newly remixed Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack. As with other vintage monaural tracks that have been redone in stereo, I canít say that end result is overly stereophonic. Again, the best description is to say that the majority of DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK sounds like a thickened version, with occasional stereo imaging. Still, there is a great deal of music on the soundtrack, which does seem to benefit from the remix. Of course, the fidelity is limited by half-century-old recording technology, but the majority of background hiss and distortion have been cleaned from the track, which sound rather nice with a modest amount of amplification. Dialogue is reproduced cleanly, without any form of intelligibility problems. A monaural English soundtrack is also present on the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Continuing as with the other titles in Foxís Marilyn Monroe series, DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK includes a comparison of how the movie looked in previous video incarnations and how it now looks now with both film and video restoration. Theatrical trailers for DONíT BOTHER TO KNOCK, MONKEY BUSINESS, NIAGRA, RIVER OF NO RETURN and LETíS MAKE LOVE have also been provided on the DVD. A still gallery closes out the DVDís extras.

DONíT BOTHER TO KNOCK certainly gave Marilyn Monroe one of the most interesting roles of her career and it is an entertaining little film noir to boot. If you are a Monroe fan, or a movie buff in general, you are going to want to check out DONíT BOTHER TO KNOCK on DVD.

DONíT BOTHER TO KNOCK is available individually on DVD for $19.98 or as part of the Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection Volume II for $79.98.


 Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection Volume II


Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

Marilyn Monroe - The Diamond Collection II


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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