Being shot over a handful of years, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967) is a cluttered, yet fun film. The film originated as an NYU student project in 1965, with Harvey Keitel as the lead. Eventually, the film progressed in 1967, with an inclusion of a romance plot, adding Zina Bethune to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the viewing of the film. Obscure, but enjoyable.
The story centers around Keitel’s character, J.R. who slides around the streets of New York City, getting into trouble and piss-drunk with his friends. Eventually, J.R. meets Bethune’s character (despite being the love focus, and center of the story…is simply named “Girl” ) and all things change. As a young, 20-something filmmaker like Martin Scorsese at the time…One would be lucky to make a film like this. I cannot imagine this being Scorsese’s worst film (if so, we are in for a delightful ride) however, this is nowhere near his best work.
The film’s mediocre acting, ineffective lap dissolves, confusing pace and editing complemented by a strikingly bizarre sex scene make the film far from perfect. It is to be noted that after the film’s initial release in 1967, a year later, a film exploitation distributor offered to buy Scorsese’s newest work and distribute the project. The only condition, a sex scene (involving prostitutes) be added to give the film sex exploitation angles for marketing purposes (Canby). I hope whoever this marketer was got fired!
Unless you are like me, doing a Scorsese binge, there is no real reason to stumble upon this movie. However, the camera work is intriguing, the characters are likable, and the music is oh-so-familiar to the charming works of Scorsese… you can see a true budding filmmaker from this early project.
Story/Plot – 12/20 Direction – 13/20 Acting - 12/20
Cinematography – 14/20 Score/Soundtrack – 13/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,