A really weird black and white storyline but if you want to see a young Harvey Keitel and his first movie as well as Martin Scorsese's debut film, then this is a must but be warned that it is very strange!
Christine A. (WriteReviseEdit) from ROCHESTER, NY Reviewed on 12/29/2017...
Wanna see how Scorsese got his start?
Or get a peek at his mom pre-"Good Fellas" era?
His debut, "Who's That Knocking at My Door," lets you do both!
Despite some wonky camera work or grainy imagery here and there, it's a must-see for fans of Scorsese and/or Keitel. More than that it offers a unique glimpse at 1960s social norms, including attitudes toward pre-marital "sex" (see it to learn why I put it in quotes) which are astonishing by modern standards. The extra features, while they don't feature Scorsese or Keitel (outside of still images), are informative and even humorous.
Overall, this film can seem goofy or otherwise confusing at times. Alternately, there are some artfully filmed shots and witty banter. The bonus material makes it clear that nothing about the film is as off-the-cuff as it seems. That alone makes it impressive, given the finished product. Maybe I'm just waxing nostalgic: My grew up in this part of NYC and had friends who easily fit the descriptions of the characters portrayed.
In any case, I stand by my earlier statement. it's a must-see for Scorsese fans.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Extraordinary debut of America's greatest living director
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Who's that knocking at my Door", Martin Scorsese's debut film is almost plotless. J.R. (played by Harvey Keitel, brilliant by the way) is a young Italian American living in Little Italy, who after wooing a WASPish girl (Zina Bethune) with his love of John Wayne westerns, is disgusted by her well intentioned admission that she's not a virgin and consequently their relationship ends..."Who's that knocking..." has all the excesses of a first feature. It's uneven and episodic, sometimes terribly naïve with some overt religious symbolism. These are minor complaints however as the young Scorsese has created a movie that resonates a manic energy, extraordinary style and a rare sense of eroticism. Very important in the Scorsese cannon, the film looks forward to later films ( "Mean Streets", "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas") with its anthropological feel for the males codes his later characters would explore.Equally important, the film shows how American cinema became colonised by the European ethic of film-making. Heavily influenced by the French New Wave, more specifically Jean-Luc Godard, the film also revels in Scorsese's love for American movies. There are references to Howard Hawks, the intense cinema of John Cassavetes (recalling his milestone "Shadows") and the explosive soundtrack reminds one of Kenneth Anger's underground epic "Scorpio Rising". As impressive a debut as you are likely to see..."
More personal than even Mean Streets
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Scorsese's work for sometime now, and I never thought I would be as taken off guard by a film as I was when I first saw Mean Streets. Who's That Knocking At My Door? blew me away. It is similar in many ways to Mean Streets in both plot and content, but the style and sponataneity are unmatched here. If you thought Johnny Boy was an incredible character, check out Sally Gaga. Harvey Keitel stars, and seems like an entirely different actor, very innocent and affectionate at times, much more so than in his role as Charlie. Easily one of the most personal and heartfelt films ever made. Buy this if you've admired Scorsese's other work."
We talking about pennies
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 09/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
What A Great First Film
D | U.S. | 12/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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..."
Amateurish early Scorsese offering that bores rather than th
mojo_navigator | 05/17/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"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."