An eloquent document on juvenile delinquency, its cause and effect, has been fashioned from Knock on Any Door. John Derek is the bad boy of the picture. Story opens when the youth, arrested for the wanton killing of a cop, calls on lawyer Humphrey Bogart to defend him. Bogart, himself a slums product who rose above it, reluctantly takes the case after being convinced Derek, no matter how bad, is innocent.
Nicholas Ray’s direction stresses the realism of the script taken from Willard Motley’s novel of the same title, and gives the film a hard, taut pace that compels complete attention.