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

3.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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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.

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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

Special Features

  • "From the Classroom to the Streets" featurette

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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000286RPM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,825 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
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 then NYU graduate student Scorcese ran in the local paper.

Written by Martin Scorsese with additional dialogue by Betzi Manoogian.

The shooting started in 1964 and ended up 4 or 5 years later, with some of the bedroom scenes shot in Holland.

It's the story of a young good for nothing guy from Little Italy just bumming around with his friends and falling in love with a girl, blond and non-Italian, who is just a size too big for his conservative and male chauvinistic values.

Haunting B&W camera work foretells the great director of the future..

Choppy editing but surprise! It's the same Thelma Schoonmaker who edited this “student film”. She will of course collaborate on many other projects with Marty and end up winning TWO Editing Oscars (for The Aviator in 2005 and Raging Bull in 1980).

The story line is nothing to write home about – young bum for whom women are either “girls” or “broads” and “whores” tries to find happiness as the world and his own background conspire against him. But young Keitel and Scorcese treat us to the raw talent that will eventually evolve into a focus of major fascination for us all movie fans and writers.

A 6 out of 10 for B&W camera work.
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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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Format: DVD
Right out of the gate as young men, both director Scorsese and leading man Keitel get right down to it. They grapple with what becomes a favorite conflict of Scorsese's throughout the rest of his career. This is the Italian American male and his perception of women as one of two types, either a prostitute or a madonna with nothing in between. This film was made in the late '60s so this idea couldn't have been more alive and well in society. Keitel pulls off this extremely difficult, inherently unlikable role. Most of the action takes place between him and the woman or between him and his buddies, who are all like him. Some might consider this dated but I think within that subculture this is not an idea which is totally dead yet. However, it does not cut as wide a swathe through our society as it once did. It is absolutely authentic as to its time period.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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