The Films of Martin Scorsese Who's That Knocking at My Door?

Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1969)

(First version, 1965, Bring on the Dancing Girls; second version, 1967, I Call First; also released in l 970 under title J.R.)
J.R. grew up in New York's "Little Italy" under the dual influence of a rigid Catholic upbringing and the tough law-of-the-jungle rule of the city streets. Rarely straying beyond the limits of his neighborhood, he spends his time drinking with his buddies, playing cards, and horsin' around with "broads" until the time when he will marry a "nice girl." Then, while riding on the Staten Island ferry, he meets and falls in love with a young girl unlike anyone he has ever known. She speaks French, reads F. Scott Fitzgerald, lives alone, and doesn't own a television set. As their relationship deepens, the girl offers herself to J.R. but, believing her chaste, he refuses. Following an invigorating day in the country with one of his buddies, J.R.'s high spirits are deflated when the girl tells him that she was once attacked and raped by a former boyfriend. Feeling betrayed, J.R. walks out on the girl and attempts to resume his former life. However, a wild party leaves him disgusted with both himself and his world and he returns to the girl in the early morning hours. Awkwardly trying for a reconciliation, he tells her that he is willing to forgive her and that he will try to overlook her loss of virginity. The girl, however, realizes that J.R.'s forgiveness is proof that he is incapable of accepting her for what she is, and that they could never find happiness together. When she rejects him, J.R. flies into a rage and, from years of conditioning, returns to his Church. But the present has intruded upon the past and he finds no solace.

From The American Film Institute Catalog, Feature Films 1961-1970

Director: Martin Scorsese
Producers: Joseph Weill, Betzi Manoogian, Haig Manoogian
Screenplay: Martin Scorsese
Cinematography (black and white): Michael Wadleigh, Richard H. Coll
Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker
Art director: Victor Magnotta

Cast: Harvey Keitel (J.R.), Zina Bethune (girl), Lennard Kuras (Joey), Michael Scala (Sally GaGa), Anne Colette (young girl in dream), Harry Northup (Harry, the rapist), Robert Uricola (young man at party with gun), Bill Minkin (Iggy/radio announcer), Wendy Russell (GaGa's girlfriend), Phil Carlson (guide on the mountain), Susan Wood (Susan), Marissa Joffrey (Rosie), Catherine Scorsese (J.R.'s mother), Tsuai Yu-Lan, Saskia Holleman, Anne Marieka (dream girls), Victor Magnotta, Paul de Bionde (boys in street fight), Martin Scorsese (gangster)

90 mins.