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Nora Prentiss
     

Nora Prentiss

Director: Vincent Sherman

Cast: Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Bruce Bennett

 
In this slick melodrama, a sort of film-noir for women, a nightclub singer has an affair with an unhappily married San Francisco doctor. Though the physician desperately wants to leave his wife, he lacks the courage to ask for a divorce. In retaliation, the singer accepts an offer to move East and start up a new club in New York. Lost without the singer, the doctor is

Overview

In this slick melodrama, a sort of film-noir for women, a nightclub singer has an affair with an unhappily married San Francisco doctor. Though the physician desperately wants to leave his wife, he lacks the courage to ask for a divorce. In retaliation, the singer accepts an offer to move East and start up a new club in New York. Lost without the singer, the doctor is without option until his partner suddenly dies. With a burst of inspiration, he fakes his own death and flees to New York. Later, he is horrified to learn that his death has been officially declared a homicide, and so he goes into hiding in the singer's apartment. To cope with his fear and the increasing success of his lover, the physician begins drinking heavily. This only makes him paranoid and more depressed and he begins to suspect his lover is having an affair. Upon confronting the "lover," a fight ensues, the doctor wins, and thinking he killed his rival, he takes off -- only to end up in a horrible traffic accident that leaves his face unrecognizable. Though plastic surgery gives him a new identity, it is at that time that he is arrested and sent back to California to stand trial for his own murder. Rather than burden his family with the shock that he is still alive, the doctor insists that his lover keep mum, and he stoically goes to trial where he is sentenced to Death Row. Beautifully photographed by James Wong Howe in typically expressionistic style, the film focuses on the desperation and entrapment of the characters and expresses a true bleak, fatalistic film-noir sensibility which makes this film unique in the genre.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Nora Prentiss is lucky to have Ann Sheridan in the title role; it would have been even luckier if the title character were actually the focal point of the movie. Unfortunately, despite its title, Prentiss is really about Dr. Richard Talbot. While Nora has a large role and crucial role in the film, it's one that is more reactive than proactive; the story is really all about Talbot. This would be a small matter, of course, if the actor playing Talbot wasn't Kent Smith. But it is Smith, and he simply doesn't have the shoulders to carry a movie such as this; fine in smaller parts or in leads that don't demand too much from him, Smith is essentially a wimpy actor. He can play a nice guy like Talbot, but he can't really convincingly dig down deep into his psyche and offer us the tortured, obsessed man that the screenplay insists is there underneath. To be fair, the writers don't give him much to work with; things tend to happen because it serves the plot, not because the writers develop the characters to convincingly contain interesting contradictions. Sheridan, the eternal "oomph" girl, doesn't let the lack of good material bother her; she takes the dross that is offered her and turns it into something pretty close to gold. It's a commanding performance, and has the power that Smith's lacks. There's also very good support from Robert Alda and Rosemary de Camp, which helps to offset the bland one from Bruce Bennett. Vincent Sherman's direction is uneven, though generally fine; much better is James Wong Howe's wonderfully evocative cinematography.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/07/2009
UPC:
0883316174395
Original Release:
1947
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
38,423

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ann Sheridan Nora Prentiss
Kent Smith Dr. Richard Talbot
Bruce Bennett Dr. Joel Merriam
Robert Alda Nick Dinardos
Rosemary de Camp Lucy Talbot
John Ridgely Walter Bailey
Robert Arthur Gregory Talbot
Wanda Hendrix Bonita Talbot
Helen Brown Miss Judson
Rory Mallinson Fleming
Harry Shannon Police Lieutenant
James Flavin District Attorney
Douglas Kennedy Doctor
Don McGuire Truck Driver
Clifton Young Policeman
Dean Cameron Rod the Piano Player
Eddie Hart Actor
Bill Williams Actor
Ramon Ros Reporter
Gertrude Carr Mrs. Dobie
John Newland Reporter
John Parker Compton Reporter
Jack Mower Sheriff
Philo McCullough Warden
Fred Kelsey Turnkey
Lotta Williams Agnes
Richard "Hock" Walsh Bystander
Tiny Jones Flower Woman
Georgia Caine Mrs. Sterritt
Roy Gordon Oberlin
John Ellis Doorman
Lee Phelps Doorman
Creighton Hale Captain of Waiters
Clancy Cooper Policeman
Al Bridge Reporter
Ross Ford Chauffeur, Billie
Adele St. Maur Nurse
Ralph Dunn Detective
Charles Marsh Bailiff
Matt McHugh Drunk
Wallace "Scotty" Scott Drunk
George Campeau Man
Charles Jordan Clerk at Court
Freddy Johnson Newspaper Man
Dave Fresco Newsboy
Eddy Chandler Detective
John Elliott Chaplain

Technical Credits
Vincent Sherman Director
Harry Barndollar Special Effects
Edward Cherkose Songwriter
Edwin DuPar Special Effects
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Anton Grot Art Director
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
William Jacobs Producer
M. K. Jerome Songwriter
Charles Lang Sound/Sound Designer
Philip MacDonald Screenwriter
Owen Marks Editor
N. Richard Nash Screenwriter
Jack Scholl Songwriter
Walter F. Tilford Set Decoration/Design
William Travilla Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
Owen Waxman Score Composer
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Perc Westmore Makeup

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