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Knock on Any Door (1949) is an American court-room trial film noir directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart. The picture introduced John Derek to film and was based on the novel of the same name by Willard Motley. Against the wishes of his law partners, lawyer Andrew Morton (Bogart) takes the case of Nick Romano (Derek), a troubled young man from the slums, partly because he himself came from the same slums, and partly because he feels guilty for botching the criminal trial of Nick's father years earlier (he was innocent). Nick is on trial for viciously killing a policeman point-blank and faces execution if convicted (the event is shown in a dark opening scene, but the killer's face is not seen). Morton's strategy in the courtroom is to argue that slums breed criminals and that the community is partly to blame for crimes committed by the people who are forced to live in such miserable conditions. Through flashbacks, Morton demonstrates that Romano is more a victim of...
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