US fans, take note: Don’t Bother to Knock will be screened tonight at midnight (Eastern Time) on Turner Classic Movies. It’s the first film on the 2023 schedule for the weekly TCM feature, Noir Alley.
“Join us every Saturday at midnight as we traverse down the dark corridor of Noir Alley guided by the ‘Czar of Noir’, Eddie Muller … Each noir will include weekly classic cocktail recipes of the era for you to nibble one with or stay for the onset mystery. You can even have your questions answered by Eddie before the film.”
On her Shadows and Satin blog this week, Noir scholar Karen Burroughs Hannsberry recalls how the film’s early critics underestimated Marilyn’s performance in an atypical role.
“The reviews for the film were mixed, with an especially muddled assessment coming from the critic for Variety, who wrote that Monroe gave an ‘excellent account of herself in a strictly dramatic role,’ but also said that Monroe’s casting ‘seems an odd choice’ because the role was ‘anything but glamorous.’ The habitually acerbic Bosley Crowther of the New York Times found that Monroe played the part with a ‘childishly blank expression and a provokingly feeble, hollow voice,’ and the critic for the Los Angeles Times declared that Monroe’s performances was ‘reinforced by virtually no acting resources whatsoever.’ Frankly, I don’t know what film these latter two critics were looking at – their opinions sound like they’re personal rather than grounded in objectivity. In my view, Monroe turned in a portrayal of a mentally ill woman that was both touching and believable. And, for what it’s worth, Anne Bancroft later said that her experience acting with Monroe was ‘remarkable,’ adding that Monroe ‘moved me so that tears came into my eyes.'”
UPDATE: Marilyn’s performance was praised by viewers on Twitter this weekend…