Marilyn Monroe as the troubled broken Nell in one of her best performances in Don’t Bother to Knock.
As with so many broken characters in cinema, Nell is drawn – irresistibly – to the mirror. Not for vanity. But to live in her dream world, OR to realize her dream world isn’t real. Monroe is truly unnerving in Don’t Bother to Knock.
When Monroe got the role and met with the costume designer, she was shown a bunch of dresses that were clearly costumes. Nice Hollywood-y dresses. She knew they weren’t right. She KNEW Nell. Nell had spent an hour on a city bus, it was hot, she has no money, no job, she’s desperate enough for work to take this one-night babysitting job. She doesn’t have any money for clothes. So Marilyn went to the “five and ten” and bought this dress, and wouldn’t allow the costume designer to iron it. It would be wrinkled after a hot long ride on a bus.
It’s very touching.