Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)
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WH'OS THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR? has merit not only as a directorial first effort of an acknowledged master, but for its germination of two ideas Scorsese explored more fully in MEAN STREETS (1973), GOODFELLAS (1990) and to a lesser extent, RAGING BULL (1980): 1.) that male-bonding always takes precedence over man/woman relationships, and 2.) there are two distinct categories of women, as understood by men with a properly guilt-ridden Roman Catholic upbringing.
Harvey Keitel's J.R. clearly makes these distinctions here. He professes to his sweetheart that there are "girls", the kind of women who are innocent, pure and virginal before marriage, and "broads", those that are like the men's room doorknob (everybody gets a turn), labelled by Italian-American guys (like J.R.) as "hoo-urs". The first type you marry and enshrine safely at home, the second you freely get down and dirty with in cheesy motel rooms and car back seats. This double standard would have immediate repercussions to his love life.
As mentioned above, "WHO'S THAT KNOCKING..." has a bifurcated plotline. There's the wolfpack adventures of J.R.Read more ›
Low-budget? "We talking about pennies," says Scorsese's directorial assistant and classmate, Mardik Martin.
The black-and-white film concerns a young man's inner turmoil as he tries to reconcile religion and romance while boozing it up with his pals in Little Italy. Zina Bethune is the seasoned actress on the project, pretty and mysterious. Keitel visibly ages during the film, because it was shot over several years. Scorsese's music collection propels the film, as it would in "Mean Streets" and "GoodFellas."
The new DVD does what it can, but the movie looks like hell, with persistent wear and contrasts that threaten to simply fade to black. Fuggedaboutit. It's a compelling little film, crawling with tension and filled with creativity.
I'd advise anyone reading this to proceed directly to Mean Streets, a film of kinetic energy, loud neon and operatic brashness that Knocking only hints at.
Some of the most captivating images ever caught on film are found in this poor man's epic - the lighting, editing, and cinematography will take you away. (Or take you back to Little Italy in the mid-1960s).
I struggled with much of the approximate first half of the film - was "The Girl" a *real* girl? Or a real girl that J.R. could never approach because he sensed a certain worldliness...disturbing to his way of life? Was his time with her in his imagination, something to intermittently preoccupy him while he messed around with his neighborhood pals bent on extending childhood? (Perhaps about ten minutes overlong with the slice of life cavorting about). Yet, even with that slight confusion, I was still reminded of Portrait of Jennie with Joseph Cotten - did Jennifer Jones exist in reality...or in his dreams?
Perhaps a better approach would have been to copy the romantic black and white classic from 1948 - note that Keitel's love has no name! She is "The Girl" - exquisitely played by Zina Bethune. Her dignified mysteriousness is quite mesmerizing. The perfect counterpoint to Harvey Keitel's roughness. He enthuses over John Wayne westerns; she loves to take ferry rides...just for the ride. A point of connection is in a beautiful early scene at the dock when J.R. gets her to admit she does have a fondness for westerns!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
WHO'S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR? (1967) is probably Martin Scorcese's first film. I bet it is also Harvey Keitel's first film who showed up in response to an “actors wanted” ad that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ugur Akinci
I'm a nut for anything Harvey Keitel. This was a different movie. The fashion and time period of the movie is fantastic. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bomb of Suburbia
Right out of the gate as young men, both director Scorsese and leading man Keitel get right down to it. Read morePublished 21 months ago by carol irvin
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
was so intrigued to see one of my fav directors first foray into the media... Read more
Who's That Knocking at My Door ( 1969 ) attracts viewers
from the 2 punch combination, of being a Martin Scorcese
picture and of headlining Harvey Keitel. Read more
Who's That Knocking At My Door is primarily of historical interest, more an exercise in style - in this case a New York 60s spin on nouvelle vague and Italian neo-realism - than a... Read morePublished on April 28, 2008 by Trevor Willsmer
Martin Scorsese's debut film is one that may not be remembered when looking back over his career, but it is one that should be seen to understand just what a brilliant mind he... Read morePublished on September 6, 2007 by Ryan Rogers