Knock on Any Door

Overview

Though Humphrey Bogart is the official star of Knock on Any Door, the film is essentially a showcase for Columbia's newest young male discovery John Derek. The first production of Bogart's Santana company, the film casts Bogart as attorney Andrew Morton. A product of the slums, Morton is persuaded to take the case of underprivileged teenager Nick Romano Derek, who has been arrested on a murder charge. Through flashbacks, Morton demonstrates that Romano is more a victim of society than a natural-born killer. ...
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Overview

Though Humphrey Bogart is the official star of Knock on Any Door, the film is essentially a showcase for Columbia's newest young male discovery John Derek. The first production of Bogart's Santana company, the film casts Bogart as attorney Andrew Morton. A product of the slums, Morton is persuaded to take the case of underprivileged teenager Nick Romano Derek, who has been arrested on a murder charge. Through flashbacks, Morton demonstrates that Romano is more a victim of society than a natural-born killer. Though this defense strategy does not have the desired result on the jury thanks to the badgering of DA Kernan George Macready, Morton does manage to arouse sympathy for the plight of those trapped by birth and circumstance in a dead-end existence. As Nick Romano, John Derek would never be better, nor would ever again play a character who struck so responsive a chord with the audience. Nick's oft-repeated credo--"Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse"--became the clarion call for a generation of disenfranchised youth. Director Nicholas Ray would later expand on themes touched upon in Knock on a Any Door in his juvenile delinquent "chef d'oeuvre" Rebel without a Cause. Viewers are advised to watch for future TV personalities Cara Williams and Si Melton in uncredited minor roles. Knock on Any Door spawned a belated sequel in 1960, Let No Man Write My Epitaph.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Knock on Any Door undoubtedly was more powerful when it debuted in 1949, but this social message picture still packs a sizeable wallop today. Some viewers will feel that it is overly preachy and that it sometimes sacrifices dramatic niceties on the altar of social conscience. There's also a great deal of validity to this argument; still, there's enough passionate involvement on the part of Nicholas Ray that most will be willing to overlook the blatant manipulation and the textbook psychological and sociological approach that informs the film. Less easy to overlook is leading player John Derek. Undeniably handsome and possessed of a certain flair and presence, he also is only an adequate actor; while nothing that he does in Knock is ever wrong, he rarely surprises, and he lacks the sheer force of will that would make the character come truly alive. Fortunately, Ray knows how to direct around this defect, filling the screen with such power and atmosphere that it compensates for the mere adequacy of Derek's performance. Ray has no such problems with Humphrey Bogart, playing against type and coming off beautifully, or with George Macready, who knows just what buttons to push throughout. Knock is somewhat dated, but it's still engrossing and compelling.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/4/2013
  • UPC: 043396427181
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,614

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Humphrey Bogart Andrew Morton
John Derek Nick Romano
George Macready District attorney Kerman
Allene Roberts Emma
Susan Perry Adele
Mickey Knox Vito
Barry Kelley Judge Drake
Cara Williams Nelly
Jimmy Conlin Kid Fingers
Sid Melton Squint
Pepe Hern Juan
Dewey Martin Butch
Robert A. Davis Sunshine
Houseley Stevenson Sr. Junior
Vince Barnett Bartender
Florence Auer Aunt Lena
Pierre Watkin Purcell
Gordon Nelson Corey
Argentina Brunetti Ma Romano
Richard Bartell
Paul Baxley Policeman
Eddie Borden Man
Hazel Boyne Woman
Joe Brockman
George Chandler Cashier
Jack Clisby Policeman
Charles Colean Man
Chester Conklin Barber
Connie Conrad
Curt Conway Elkins
Carol Coombs Ang Romano
Anne Cornwall
Homer Dickenson Jury Member
Dudley Dickerson Man
Sidney Dubin Jury Member
Mary Emery Jury Member
Franklin Farnum Man
Al Ferguson Guard
Jo Gilbert Gussie
Sol (Saul) Gorss Detective
Frank S. Hagney Suspect
Betty Hall Jury Member
Joy Hallward Jury Member
Chuck Hamilton Bailiff
Roberta Haynes Woman
Myron Healey Assistant District Attorney
George Hickman Detective
Al Hill Detective
Wesley Hopper Boss
John Indrisano Man
Jack Jahries
Ray Johnson Man
Donald Kerr Court Clerk
Jane Lee Woman
Frank Marlo Bailiff
Frank Marlowe Bailiff
Eda Reiss Merin Reporter
John Mitchum Jury Member
Philip Morris Detective
Helen Mowery Miss Holiday
Gary Owen Larry
Netta Packer Jury Member
Joe Palma Reporter
Eddie Parker Guard
Beulah Parkington Woman
Jack Perry Man
Lee Phelps Policeman
Rose Plummer Jury Member
Ed Randolph
Franz Roehn Jury Member
Richard Sinatra Julian Romano
Mabel Smaney Jury Member
Charles Sullivan Man
Tex Swan Man
Glenn Thompson
Sid Tomack Duke
Evelyn Underwood
Dorothy Vernon Woman
Peter Virgo Suspect
Ralph Volkie Bailiff
Blackie Whiteford Man
Sumner Williams Jimmy
Harry Wilson Man
Dooley Wilson Piano Player
Jeff York Man
Technical Credits
Nicholas Ray Director
George Antheil Score Composer
Arthur S. Black Jr. Asst. Director
Clay Campbell Makeup
Burnett Guffey Cinematographer
Henry S. Kesler Associate Producer
William Kiernan Set Decoration/Design
Viola Lawrence Editor
Robert Lord Producer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
John Monks Jr. Screenwriter
Robert A. Peterson Art Director
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Daniel Taradash Screenwriter
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