Run time: 76 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st August 1952
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
IMDB: 6.9 / 10
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Producer: Julian Blaustein
Screenwriter: Daniel Taradash
Starring: Richard Widmark as Jed Towers, Marilyn Monroe as Nell Forbes, Anne Bancroft as Lyn Lesley, Donna Corcoran as Bunny Jones, Jeanne Cagney as Rochelle, Lurene Tuttle as Ruth Jones, Elisha Cook, Jr. as Eddie Forbes, Jim Backus as Peter Jones, Verna Felton as Mrs. Ballew, Willis Bouchey as Joe the Bartender (as Willis B. Bouchey), Don Beddoe as Mr. Ballew, Emmett Vogan as the toastmaster, Harry Bartell as the bellboy, Gloria Blondell as Janie the café photographer, Harry Bartell as a bellboy, John Call as a bellboy, Dick Cogan as the bell captain, Charles J. Conrad as Speaker, Tom Daly as a man in the elevator, Bess Flowers as a woman at the awards dinner, Charles Flynn as uniformed cop at end, Robert Foulk as the doorman, Grace Hayle as Mrs. McMurdock, Marjorie Holliday as the phone operator, David McMahon as uniformed cop at end, Eda Reiss Merin as a maid, Harold Miller as a banquet guest, Vic Perrin as an elevator operator, Vic Perrin as Pat the hotel detective, Olan Soule as the bespectacled desk clerk
Sure enough, Monroe proves she can act, and pretty seriously. While she appears to be her usual ditzy blonde at first, the film slowly proves itself to be something else entirely.
The action in Don't Bother to Knock takes place entirely in a fairly small hotel, focusing on Monroe's Nell, niece of the elevator operator who is recommended to babysit for a couple attending a banquet downstairs. Across the courtyard is Jed (Richard Widmark), who's recently been dumped by the hotel's lounge singer (Bancroft) and who figures he'll put the moves on Nell instead. During their encounter, she proves herself to be anything but innocent.
Creepy and effective, the film's smallness enhances its mood considerably. Monroe's performance isn't flawless, but it's good enough, aided by Widmark's poor sap and an impressive supporting cast -- most of whom deliver deadpan one-liners throughout the movie. Roy Baker appears to have had a very small budget but does good work the tools in his arsenal. At only 76 minutes long, it's a quick number but a fairly satisfying one.
Based on the novel Mischief. Featured as part of the restored set of Monroe classics in The Diamond Collection II (see links at right).