Monday, June 01, 2015

Don't Bother to Knock

At no point does Monroe's character
in this move wear this outfit.
Of all the movies that Marilyn Monroe made, "Don't Bother to Knock" is the most important for my play about Monroe because she actually uses something from that movie to help get herself released from the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic - she talks about it in a letter to one of her shrinks:
...I was waiting at the elevator door which looks like all other doors with a door-knob except it doesn't have any numbers (you see they left them out). After the girl spoke with me and told me about what she had done to herself I went back into my room knowing they had lied to me about the telephone and I sat on the bed trying to figure if I was given this situation in an acting improvisation what would I do. So I figured, it's a squeaky wheel that gets the grease. I admit it was a loud squeak but I got the idea from a movie I made once called "Don't Bother to Knock". I picked up a light-weight chair and slammed it, and it was hard to do because I had never broken anything in my life -- against the glass intentionally. It took a lot of banging to get even a small piece of glass - so I went over with the glass concealed in my hand and sat quietly on the bed waiting for them to come in. They did, and I said to them "If you are going to treat me like a nut I'll act like a nut". I admit the next thing is corny but I really did it in the movie except it was with a razor blade. I indicated if they didn't let me out I would harm myself...
Of course I am using this in the play. I'm not sure which glass she is talking about though - if there was a window in the room she was staying in, or if it was the observation window in the locked door to her room, or what. I guess I'll have to decide pretty soon.

Anyway, so I watched "Don't Bother to Knock" and it's not a bad movie. The plot revolves around Richard Widmark's character, a commercial pilot and his failing relationship with his girlfriend played by pre-Mrs. Robinson Anne Bancroft. She's dumping him because she feels he's too cold-hearted. So within an hour of being dumped, Widmark sees Monroe's character Nell in a window across the courtyard of the hotel they're at - Nell is babysitting for a couple at an awards ceremony at the hotel - and he goes for it - he invites himself over. It turns out that Nell is losing her marbles over her fiancee who died flying in the Pacific Theater of WWII. She thinks Widmark's pilot is her pilot. Anyway by the end Widmark prevents Nell from killing herself (with a razorblade rather than a piece of glass) and his girlfriend sees he's really a good guy and they get back together again.

Could be worse. Monroe is quite touching when she really starts to lose it. She really could act.

And today is Monroe's birthday, born in 1926.