Gives a glimpse of what wonderful performances we might have had from Monroe had she taken feature roles at lower budget studios.
(Instead, for seven years, Fox would hem her through a bunch of cornball stinkers painfully unwatchable today save for her moments on screen.)
Not an all around great film by any means, Don't Bother To Knock at least looks good c/o Lucien Ballard. The Widmark-Bancroft love angle is very weak and poor Elisha Cook's make-up is terrible. It's a gem for Monroe's creep factor and it's a shame she didn't aim higher in her professional career, say alongside Karloff or Laird Cregar.
A must see short for your next kegger!
Hunt Stromberg Productions released a mere handful of films in the 40s, but most are among the best of the decade. Ulmer helms this mini-epic and it can easily sit among his best work. A "chick flick" filled with taboo subject matter, sadomasochistic lusts and gothic claustrophobia - a project made for the director of Detour, Bluebeard and The Black Cat. More importantly, this is the only role Hedy Lamarr ever played that utilizes all of her acting skills. The major studios wasted her on glamour shots. Here her beauty is highlighted by simple but effective costume and lighting, while her character, Jenny Hager, runs a huge gamut of emotions, silent and verbalized, often at the same time. She really is a strange woman. In Hedy's hands she is sympathetic and merciless by turns, never confused and annoying, playing overheated melodrama straighter, with less sap than even Stanwick. The rest of the cast is stronger than expected. Hayward and Lockhart put in some of their best work and Sanders is convincingly confounded by Hedy's talents. Ulmer's usual attention to set design, mood-specific lighting and dramatic composition spring many visual surprises on the viewer from beginning to end. The restoration is an revelatory improvement. As with many of Ulmer's small studio pictures it was once only available as a murky high contrast video dub. Film Chest has restored it to at least 95% of it's former glory which is far more than ever expected.
Typical Larry Cohen nonsense shot on the fly for AIP. Still, for your entertainment dollar, head and shoulders above it's major studio competition that year.
Misleading title. If you are a 1%er with nothing to do all day except shop for quirky Americana then this tome is for you. If you are looking for a practical guide to storing your underwear, shoes and camping gear look somewhere else. This heavy coffee table buster's only advice is: buy an old farmhouse and restore it with ten foot high shelves. My advice? Mail all of your unwanted trash to Rizzoli Books c/o Mary Randolph Carter.