Review: Nora Prentiss

OK, after watching this and Woman on the Run, which came out three years later and I reviewed earlier on this site, I’m a huge fan of Ann Sheridan. Nora Prentiss is a classic film noir from 1947 directed by Vincent Sherman.

This is a unique film in the classic film noir period. The first scene is a man covering his face and not wanting to talk to the press. The press is asking if “he really killed him” and similar questions. If it was not for this scene letting us know we are going into some dark noir story in this film, we may not think it was noir film for the first 40 minutes or so. The first part of this film is a love story between Dr. Richard Talbot played by Kent Smith and Nora Prentiss played by Sheridan. They meet when Nora is accidentally hit by a car and is brought to Dr. Talbot for examination.

Nora flirts with the Doctor and has him drive her home. When she finds out he is married, she apologizes for being fresh with him. Of course it is too late as Dr. Talbot is already having feelings for Nora, and you can see why. Sheridan does a great job of having you fall in love with her so you can easily see why Dr. Talbot would. Nora is a lounge singer and soon the Doctor goes to the night club to see her sing. The relationship progresses and Dr. Talbot says he is going to ask for a divorce that night. Talbot goes home and finds a party going on for his daughter’s 16th birthday, which has slipped his mind. We soon see Talbot start to lose his mind. Soon Talbot is seeing a patient, who drops dead in his office. Talbot noticing the striking resemblance between himself and this man and decides to trade places with him. So he fakes his own death, using the patients body and moves from San Francisco to New York with Nora. Nora has no idea this has happened and is happy that her love has decided to go to New York with her. We now see in the second half of this film why it is considered a noir! Will Talbot totally go crazy and hurt Nora? Will Nora figure out what her boyfriend has done to get out of his marriage? Will the dead man’s past come back to haunt our couple?

This is a very good classic film noir with two great performances from our leads. This film doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves and I’m not sure why? This is a film that needs to be seen more. Go watch it and then tell a friend or two about it as well. If you like classic film noir or just classic film, this is worth your time.

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