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Knock on Any Door

Knock on Any Door(1949)

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According to an September 8, 1947 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Willard Motley's novel was first purchased by producer Mark Hellinger, who died on December 21, 1947. Motley was a black writer who had been involved with the Federal Writers' Project in Chicago. This was the first production of Santana Pictures, Inc., a company formed by Humphrey Bogart, his business manager, A. Morgan Maree, and producer Robert Lord. The film marked John Derek's first starring role; he had previously had small parts in two other films. The Variety review called him "a new bobbysoxer dream and a personality who will click with the femmes, motherly or otherwise." Actor Dewey Martin, who portrayed "Butch," made his motion picture debut in the film, as did John Mitchum (1919-2001), brother of actor Robert Mitchum. Motley subsequently wrote another novel, Let No Man Write My Epitaph, featuring the character of "Nick Romano," that was adapted into film in 1960.