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Sunday, December 3, 2017

The heartbreak of Marilyn Monroe's "Don't Bother to Knock"

Nell hasn’t been in good spirits as of late. It’s been clear from the moment she strolled into that New York hotel lobby in her dazed, doe-eyed manner that she probably isn’t the best suited patron in the room to babysit a tenant’s child – but that doesn’t stop her from accepting the job. She’s down on her luck and could use some sort of opportunity, or second chance, or validation of her existence to pull her through her current rough stint.

See, when her Uncle Eddie who works the hotel elevator drops her off with little Bunny Jones and escorts her parents, Peter and Ruth Jones, downstairs to the big party in the ball room, and Nell is left alone with the child, she starts exhibiting some odd behavior – like trying on Mrs. Jones’ clothes and jewelry, referring to a man who isn’t there, and tying little Bunny up tight with thick rope and gagging her so she’ll finally be quiet.

Told through two overlapping tales of woe and mistrust, Don’t Bother to Knockfollows Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) as he stumbles upon the path to redemption, and Nell Forbes (Marilyn Monroe) as she tumbles down the rabbit hole into madness. Jed has just lost his girl, Lyn Lesley (Anne Bancroft), famous singer and performer at the big hotel bash, and nothing he can say will woo her back. After Lyn angrily dismisses Jed and accuses him of being heartless, he does his best to prove her right, and shacks up with the next girl he can find. Unfortunately for Jed, that girl happens to be Nell.


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