Hysterical Woman of the Week! Marilyn Monroe as Nell Forbes in Don’t Bother To Knock

“…a wicked sensation as the lonely girl in room 809!”



Director Roy Ward Baker and Writer/Screenwriter Charlotte Armstrong  (The Unsuspected 1946) offer this tense Psycho-Melodrama/Noir starring Marilyn Monroe as the very disturbed Nell Forbes, who comes to New York to stay with her uncle Eddie the ubiquitous Elisha Cook Jr. who bell hops in a ritzy Hotel. He manages to get his niece, who was recently released from a sanitarium a job babysitting a young girl named Bunny (Donna Corcoran) for one night. Nell has had a breakdown and a suicide attempt after the loss of her beau Air Force pilot who went down with his plane. Along comes Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) who’s just been dumped by the Hotel’s nightclub-singing sweetheart Lyn Lesley (Anne Bancroft). Jed sees Nell through the window across the alley and they meet up in the Hotel room for a little bottle of rye and some good times, until Jed realizes that Nell isn’t quite what she appears to be. Nell is living in a fantasy world and resents the little girl’s intrusion into her concocted love affair with Jed, and she starts to slowly unravel, and go quietly ‘hysterical’ Monroe does a pretty darn good job with the role, she’s dripping with a tragic frustrated sensuality and she’s got great legs and other things too.


Bunny’s parents are played by Jim Backus and Lurene Tuttle 

Don’t bother knocking, just walk right in, I’m here all the time folks… your ever lovin’ MonsterGirl

9 thoughts on “Hysterical Woman of the Week! Marilyn Monroe as Nell Forbes in Don’t Bother To Knock

    1. You should check it out. It moves this film and Elisha Cook is as always such a great extra added bonus with his quirky kind of character acting…

    1. it’s true – I liked her in this as well and think it made the film more edgy because of the way she exuded that sensual vulnerability yet pulled off the psycho-sexual hysteria really well. I wish she made a few darker films myself…

      1. Yeah you’re right, her vulnerability is used to great effect here.
        It would be very interesting if we could see how her career would have turned out if she had continued down the path of making these kind of films. Have you seen The Misfits?

      2. Oh my god, I was going to mention The Misfits, because it comes pretty close in terms of dimension. A very layered role for her as well… I love the casting in that film… Thanks Mr. Rumsey for taking time to comment here. Nice to make your acquaintance…Cheers Joey

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