01 September 2014

Don't Bother to Knock (1952)
76 min.
Directed by Roy Ward Baker.
With Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark, Anne Bancroft, Jeanne Cagney, Elisha Cook, Jr., Gloria Blondell, Jim Backus, Lurene Tuttle, Donna Corcoran.
In her first starring dramatic role, Monroe is a revelation as a psychotic babysitter.

Having spent a few years in a sanitarium, Nell (Monroe) finds herself released and given a new lease on life when she's asked to take care of a child in a hotel for the night.

But all is not well, as Nell slowly discovers she's still mentally unbalanced, placing the life of the child (and herself) in danger.

Short and taut, Don't Bother is a nice departure for an actress known mostly for comedy/musicals.

While some might quibble with Monroe's acting "choices," she plays the part for all it's worth...perhaps bringing some of her own personal demons to the role.

Additionally, Don't Bother makes one wish Monroe had been given more career opportunities to showcase the darker side seen here (and in 1953's Niagara).

Featuring Anne Bancroft in her film debut as a singer, this was based on a novel by Charlotte Armstrong.

The jazzy music heard during the credits was lifted from 1950's Panic in the Streets.

Interestingly, this was directed by Roy Ward Baker, who would go on to feature as a prominent genre director for Hammer and Amicus, including such gems as Asylum (1972) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), among others.

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