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Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)


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Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967) + Mean Streets (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Harvey Keitel, Zina Bethune, Anne Collette, Lennard Kuras, Michael Scala
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Martin Scorsese, Betzi Manoogian
  • Producers: Betzi Manoogian, Haig Manoogian, Joseph Weill
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, Widescreen, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000286RPM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,869 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "From the Classroom to the Streets" featurette

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Martin Scorsese's powerful drama tells the story of J.R. (Harvey Keitel), a typical Italian-American boy who has grown up in a comfortable middle-class urban environment. But in that same environment he encounters the decisive split between tradition and his Catholic faith, in addition to the realities of modern life. Out of work but not in need of cash, J.R. carouses with his buddies in the bars and social clubs of Little Italy. He draws a hard line between "the broads you bang" and the girls you go out with and marry--nice girls, such as his girlfriend (Zina Bethune). But after she is raped, J.R. finds that he cannot "forgive" her for the crime, nor stop thinking of her as a "w****."Scorsese's debut feature film, shot in gritty black and white, introduces some of the techniques that he would later apply to his classics MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, and GOODFELLAS. These include freeze-frames, atypical editing, slow motion, and the use of music to give certain scenes a pulsating rhythm. In making his big-screen debut, Keitel gives a soul-baring performance that is at once passionate and sensitive. Part introspective drama, part docurealism, Scorsese's film is a striking introduction to one of cinema's most worshipped directors.

Amazon.com

Martin Scorsese's debut feature, Who's That Knocking at My Door? contains many of the autobiographical elements that would inform Scorsese's work as became a director of world-class importance. This was Harvey Keitel's debut as well, and he plays a young New Yorker named J.R. (the name also served as the film's alternate title) as a tortured vehicle for Scorsese's own inner conflict between rigid Catholic tradition and initial forays into liberating sexual experience. Produced over a lengthy on-and-off schedule while Scorsese was a struggling New York University film student, and shot in the Little Italy neighborhoods where Scorsese was raised, the film (with a final budget of $75,000) is a boldly stylized, stream-of-consciousness experience, establishing Scorsese's passion for well-chosen rock & roll soundtrack songs while plumbing the depths of J.R.'s soul as he begins a tenuous relationship with an independent, sexually experienced young woman (Zina Bethune) who's at odds with J.R.'s seething repression. Incorporating fantasy sequences to further convey the young man's turbulent thoughts and emotions, Who's That Knocking at My Door earned favorable reviews, announcing the arrival of a bracing new talent and setting the stage, five years later, for the breakout triumph of Mean Streets. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D on December 2, 2005
Format: DVD
Scorsese as everyone reading this review or thinking about buying this item probaly already knows is one the greatest living filmmakers. Maybe its having lived in the Tri-State area my whole life and having close relatives of Italian decent, but I have always found the films of Scorese hitting close to home in many ways. The characters live and breathe on screen in such a way-its unbelievable. Okay that said let me move on to the movie at hand, Scorsese having made most of this in film school-its impressive beyond belief, it has so much raw energy to it, the scenes involving the guys just hanging out seem so real, and also as a director he shows some very stylish stuff-cinema stuff-its not as polished or as great as Mean Streets-but for anyone interest in film or Scorsese i say its a must see...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Flipper Campbell VINE VOICE on September 3, 2004
Format: DVD
Harvey Keitel was a court stenographer and Martin Scorsese was an NYU grad student when they began the film that became "Who's That Knocking at My Door?" It took a good chunk of the 1960s to finish.

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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mojo_navigator on May 17, 2006
Format: DVD
This is something of a made-in-my-garage early effort from Scorsese and accordingly has plenty of rough edges and little in the way of charm or transcendence. I would only recommend this movie to Scorsese obsessives and in particular aficionados of Mean Streets. As Mean Streets is my favorite film, I felt it a duty to watch Knocking which has often been described as a dry run for Streets. Although it has many of the elements that would later blossom into the classic Scorsese style, it doesn't quite come together here. In fact, strip out the curiosity factor and Keitel's maverick performance and it's a thoroughly tedious and self-indulgent affair. But then everyone has to start somewhere and if for nothing else, at least Knocking made me wish I was an Italian living in Lower Manhattan circa 1960.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2011
Format: DVD
The second and final reworking of a small picture Martin Scorsese originally directed in 1965 while a student at NYU is technically far from perfect (occasional bad sound or a scene that appears to be from a multi-generational source) and has stretches of inertia or extreme close-ups that go beyond the daring.

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.
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By Phil S. on July 22, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's obvious that Scorsese was going places after this low-budget debut. Fans might note that Mean Streeets is omewhat of a remake of Who's That Knocking... as it does again feature Keitel as the street guy torn between two worlds - living wrong and living right can somehow be balanced in the young man's psyche. Much of the same imagery migrated to the '72 film.

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!
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