Scorsese's first feature begins with a shot of a Catholic mother making food for her family. The image dissolves at the sight of a virgin Mary statue and cuts to a group of young men standing around talking. Pop music begins playing over the image and the men are compelled to beat up other men. It's almost humorous how perfectly Scorsese would capture nearly every last theme he'd play around with for his entire career in the first two scenes of Who's That Knocking at my Door?. It's a testament to his talents as a filmmaker that he came right out of the gate knowing exactly what he wanted to say, but then Scorsese has always been an almost autobiographical filmmaker. You get the sense that Scorsese knew these people when he was growing up and both admired and feared their actions. Throughout his entire career Scorsese would romanticize violence through the usage of music only to show the horrors and repercussions of these actions later. It was a lifestyle that he never ventured into, but one he understood, because in a way he lived it. The Catholicism present here is also looming over every scene. When R.J. and the girl kiss you can see crosses in the background. When they approach the idea of sex it's shot down when pangs of guilt overcome our protagonist. Then there is the flurry of catholic imagery that closes the film cementing RJ's solace in god despite damning his relationship with the girl due to archaic ideas of purity and virginity.
What might be Scorsese's greatest talent as a director is knowing how to use music to play a scene and it's amazing to see that he's always been perfect at this. In RJ's fantasy scene he perfectly used The End by The Doors and in the already mentioned rape scene he took Don't Ask Me to Be Lonely and doubled it to muffle her screams in a scene that is truly horrific. These two scenes play completely differently and showcase the different ideas these two characters have about sex. For RJ it's a type of ritualistic fantasy and a rite of passage and for the girl it's something to be afraid of and something that has been taken from her that she can't get back. It's something that I never even noticed when watching this film when I was 13 years old, and revisiting it nine years later revealed an almost completely different film than the one I remembered. The one constant between myself at 13 and 22 is that I still find this to be a really interesting debut showing the kinds of things Scorsese would perfect years down the road and the things he's still trying to understand.