In yesterday’s “Late To This…Brilliant” post, I responded to an exciting montage of scenes from several Martin Scorsese films, and more particularly to a clip from a black-and-white sex scene from Scorsese’s Who’s That Knocking At My Door?” (’68) — his first feature film.

It featured Harvey Keitel, of course. I wasn’t certain if costar Zina Bethune was part of it, but I thought she might be.

A guy I described as helpful (in this instance) friendo explained the basics:

“Yes, it’s Who’s That Knocking, and it’s NOT Zina Bethune, who was a nice girl who didn’t do nudity.

“The sex scene — a dream sequence — was shot in Amsterdam with Keitel and a series of European model/actresses.

“It was added because a would-be distributor in the United States agreed to pick up the movie but only if it had a nude scene that could give it grind house appeal.

“Scorsese was up to something in Paris at the time, got the funds from the would be distributor, had Keitel fly to Europe, tried to work the actor’s hair into an approximation of what it looked like when they shot the rest of the film, and concocted the sequence. For some reason Amsterdam was more viable than Paris at the time.

“Scorsese actually was so scared about running afoul of customs that he hid the reel like contraband when he left for the States.”

HE responds: Fascinating recap but I have questions. Scorsese presumably didn’t meet the Brooklyn-based distributor, Joseph Brenner (who was always looking to exploit sexual content in films, and whose company was either called Joseph Bremer Associates or Medford Film Distribution) in Paris. Why would he encounter Brenner way the hell over there?

Why Scorsese decided to fly Keitel to Amsterdam for the filming of the sexual dream sequence is a total mystery, but from our 2023 perspective it seems that if the pure-of-heart Zina Bethune (whose character obviously would and should have been a significant presence in the sexual fantasies of Keitel’s character)…if Bethune wasn’t such a conservative, no-nudity prude, the dream sequence could have been filmed in a lower Manhattan loft for a small fraction of the cost of the Amsterdam shoot. (No air fare or hotel bills, for one thing.)