Nora Prentiss (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nora Prentiss (1947)





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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.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros.


Kent Smith
as Dr. Richard Talbot
Ann Sheridan
as Nora Prentiss
Bruce Bennett
as Dr. Joel Merriam
Robert Alda
as Nick Dinardos
Rosemary DeCamp
as Lucy Talbot
John Ridgely
as Walter Bailey
Robert Arthur
as Gregory Talbot
Wanda Hendrix
as Bonita Talbot
Helen Brown
as Miss Judson
Rory Mallinson
as Fleming
Harry Shannon
as Police Lieutenant
James Flavin
as District Attorney
Don McGuire
as Truck Driver
Clifton Young
as Policeman
John Newland
as Reporter
John Compton
as Reporter
Ramon Ros
as Reporter
Jack Mower
as Sheriff
Fred Kelsey
as Turnkey
Gertrude Carr
as Mrs. Dobie
Richard Walsh
as Bystander
Tiny Jones
as Flower Woman
Georgia Caine
as Mrs. Sterritt
Dean Cameron
as Rod the Piano Player
Roy Gordon
as Oberlin
David Fresco
as Newsboy
John Ellis
as Doorman
Jack Ellis
as Doorman
Lee Phelps
as Doorman
Creighton Hale
as Captain of Waiters
Eddie Hart
as Policeman
Al Bridge
as Reporter
Clancy Cooper
as Policeman
Alan Bridge
as Policeman
Ross Ford
as Chauffeur, Billie
Ralph Dunn
as Detective
Eddy Chandler
as Detective
Charles Marsh
as Bailiff
Matt McHugh
as Drunk
Dave Fresco
as Newsboy
Charles Jordan
as Clerk at Court
John Elliott
as Chaplain
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Nora Prentiss

All Critics (2)

Melodrama com aura noir cuja artificialidade se tornou evidente à medida que o filme envelheceu. De todo modo, Sheridan está linda e Smith cria um personagem trágico e maldito que ainda desperta nosso interesse.

May 15, 2006
Cinema em Cena

If you were Nora Prentiss, would you keep your mouth shut?

Full Review… | April 18, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Nora Prentiss


One of the better film noirs I've seen recently. A pretty nightclub singer shows her doctor her long stockinged leg, and to put it succinctly, he proceeds to lose his mind! Interesting, in that Nora ["the woman"] isn't the stereotypical femme fatale, and is quite sympathetic, as is the doctor. If anything, "the villain" in this film from a 2012 viewpoint seems to be the act of trying to adhere to a loveless marriage! This WB movie boasts beautiful sets, especially the gorgeous 40's nightclub scenes. The love story and suspense are quite effective until it succumbs to the inevitable 40's style implausibility, by modern forensic standards. However, we know this is going to happen going into it, right? ***1/2

Chuck Nolan
Chuck Nolan

For pulp melodrama, NORA PRENTISS has one hell of a premise. Never-you-mind that the story would ever fly in real life - considering the art of modern crime forensics...but back in the 1940's - well, just possibly...maybe?!? It's best to view this film in a 1940's perspective to better appreciate the film's denouement - but if you enjoy the occasional pulpy crime melodrama as much as I do, well NORA PRENTISS may just be your cup of tea. Dr. Richard Talbot (Kent Smith) is a successful doctor living in San Francisco who has settled into a comfortable daily routine. Every morning he gets up at the usual time and eats breakfast with his wife, Lucy (Rosemary DeCamp) and two teen-aged kids, Greg and Bonita (Robert Arthur and Wanda Hendrix). He arrives promptly at his downtown office every morning at 9 and goes home every evening at 6:30. His routine is interrupted one evening when a woman, Nora Prentiss (Ann Sheridan) is injured in a traffic accident just outside of his office. Dr. Talbot treats Nora's injuries, which prove to be minor. Nora happens to live in an apartment across the street from Talbot's office and Nora confesses, "I've seen you before...from my apartment a matter of fact, I set my clock by you" - Talbot is surprised to find that Nora is familiar with his daily routine. ...and so begins the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Talbot incorporates Nora (who works as a nightclub singer) into his daily...err, make that NIGHTLY routine. Talbot's wife notices the change in her husband - who comes home later and later in the evenings. This goes on until Nora decides that she has had enough of being "the other woman" - especially when Talbot tells her that he might see her less often: - "I...I may not be able to see you as often as I have...", Talbot tells Nora. - "Oh...wouldn't it be better if you stop seeing me altogether"? - "No...of course not. It''s just that... until I can work something out..." - "You mean you'll see me when it's convenient." - "I didn't say that"! - "That's what you meant." - "Nora's difficult for me. Don't you understand"? - "Sure I understand. But this concerns me as much as it does you. You're tired of sneaking around corners...making excuses. Well, so am I..." I like Ann Sheridan...but I just can't picture her ever playing a truly evil character. Not in a Bette Davis type of evil, anyway. Even when Sheridan plays "tough" or "sassy" - she comes off sweet too. I'm not sure I can classify her role as "femme fatale" in NORA PRENTISS. We just feel too much sympathy for her character for that (as exemplified in the above exchange). On the other hand - it is Dr. Talbot who will make the drastic decision. Unable to tell his wife he wants a divorce...a scheme literally falls into his hands when one of his patient suffers heart failure. A scheme that will enable him to leave his wife... and live happily ever after with Nora...or so he thinks. The film contains some nice archival footage of the streets of San Francisco circa 1940's. I recognize a lot of the streets and always get a kick seeing how much the city has changed since then. I had to rub my eyes upon seeing NO TRAFFIC whatsoever on the upper deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. 8

bernard anselmo
bernard anselmo

the film synopsis leads one to believe that nora prentiss ruins the life of a respected doctor but as gorgeous as ann sheridan is, she's much too sweet for a femme fatale. this is considered a 'woman's noir' but the story is really that of dr. richard talbot, consumed by guilt and increasingly paranoid. it's hard for me to see why nora prentiss stands by him when he was too much a coward to simply ask his wife for a divorce. of course that would've been a much less dramatic film

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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