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Knock on Any Door (1948)

by Willard Motley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1171193,931 (4.31)10
This is the story of Nick Romano, a young immigrant, and his struggle to survive on the streets of Chicago. A series of events including a period in reform school, family conflicts, and a brief tragic marriage, culminate in Nick's arrest for the murder of a police officer.
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» See also 10 mentions

I read this novel in the mid fifties and it has haunted me ever since. ( )
  Karen74Leigh | Nov 19, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willard Motleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vries, Hans deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Live fast, die young and have a good looking corpse.
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This is the story of Nick Romano, a young immigrant, and his struggle to survive on the streets of Chicago. A series of events including a period in reform school, family conflicts, and a brief tragic marriage, culminate in Nick's arrest for the murder of a police officer.

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Willard Motley was the nephew of Archibald Motley, premier African American painter of the Jazz Age. Willard was a gay black reporter who wrote novels about "straight" white lowlifes. Knock on Any Door features the phrase "Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse." which became the ethos of generations of young males in the Western World. It was made into a movie with Humphrey Bogart. Written in 1947, the novel seems quaint because it's use of outdated slang (Gay people are called "phonies") but it highlights the gay subtext of the noir aesthetic.
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