Marilyn Monroe stayed awake for 48 hours preparing to test for the role of a psychologically scarred young woman hired as a babysitter in a large hotel—and the gamble paid off. With Richard Widmark as an airline pilot who becomes involved with her, 1952's Don't Bother to Knock was Monroe's first starring role in a feature film and also Anne Bancroft's film debut.
"This psychodrama takes place in a hotel, and the feel of the film is dominated by the sense of both distance and closeness between things happening in different parts of it.... The film's most powerful effect is the play-off between sound and image in hotel geography (Monroe and Widmark speak on the phone across a courtyard; Bancroft's singing is switched on via internal radio, in counterpoint with visual cuts to the bar)."—Time Out