Nora Prentiss (1947) Poster


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The One and Only . . .
haridam030 April 2006
. . . Ann Sheridan, that is. And they didn't call her the "Oomph Girl" for nothing.

She's worldly (mostly underworld) straight- forward, knows the score, and completely direct. What's more, you believe and trust her . . . nothing underhanded here.

At one point she, as Nora Prentis says, "I may not have been handled with care, but I'm not shop-worn." That about sums her up.

There's no other quite like Sheridan, and she can make a wisecrack in a flash, partly for levity and partly to hold off wolves. Furthermore, it works pretty much all the time.

In "Nora Prentis" Sheridan's perfectly cast as a nightclub singer who walks into an affair with a married man. Kent Smith is fine as her suitor. Vincent Sherman's the competent director, and James Wong Howe's the fine photographer.

We're treated to Ann's beautiful contralto voice (in a lovely ballad, "Who Cares What People Say") and to the rest of Warner Bros. stock company, including Robert Alda.

"Nora Prentis' " characters work because they're endowed with both strong and weak qualities. No one's clearly victim or villain here, just quite ordinary people who get trapped in tragic circumstances.
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The "Oomph Girl" at her Warner Brothers Peak!
Emaisie399 September 2007
The forgotten Warner Brothers melodrama "Nora Prentiss" was one of the biggest hits of Ann Sheridan's career. Finely directed by Vincent Sherman who guided Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in several hit films, this is a sad, haunting yet somehow realistic story about a married doctor (a great performance by Kent Smith) who fatefully bumps into a nightclub singer (Sheridan) and soon falls madly in love with her. His illicit love of Sheridan leads to his downfall. Some may find the plot a bit contrived but an excellent script and the superb heartfelt performances of Sheridan and Smith make it work beautifully. THe ending is quite a knockout.
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From the very beginning it's all downhill for Dr. Talbot!
grasshopper541 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Never in the annals of film history has one man screwed up his life as badly as Dr. Richard Talbot, played by Kent Smith. From the very beginning of this film, Talbot's life unravels, at first very slowly, but, as the film progresses, in a hideously downward spiral that goes out of control by the end of the film. Watching this film makes one want to chant `I'm glad I'm not this guy!' over and over again. Kent Smith's antics as Dr. Talbot in this film make Fred Mac Murray's Walter Neff of `Double Indemnity' or Wendell Corey's Cleve Marshall in `The File of Thelma Jordan' look like child‘s play. Both of these movies can scare you silly regarding infidelity, but still, there is no comparison.

As the film begins, Talbot is portrayed as a straight-laced family man; an individual who has no clue about the world around him save for his family and work. This, of course, doesn't last too long. Enter Nora Prentiss. Ann Sheridan does a superb job portraying the alluring Nora, a nightclub singer who gets clipped by an automobile while she's crossing the street. Just by luck, Talbot is outside of his office and sees the accident. Being a doctor, he brings her up to his office in order to repair the damage, which consists of a bruised knee. The ride downhill to ruin begins for Dr. Talbot, first in a subtle way. He becomes tempted to see her perform in the nightclub across the street from his workplace. You can feel the rush toward disaster get a little quicker at this point.

First it's dancing, then it's a jaunt to his summer cabin when the family is away on a trip, then it's expensive gifts, then it's his coming home in the wee hours of the morning. By then his wife, played by Rosemary De Camp, becomes suspicious, but (miraculously) maintains her reserved attitude about what's happening around her and her family. The gnawing anxiety inside of her finally prompts her to angrily quip, `Not everyone in San Francisco is in poor health' or "I wonder what's going on inside of you" to her husband during one breakfast. Of course this is the day of their daughter Bonita's birthday which, of course, he forgets because of his frequent late evening trysts with Nora. You can feel the plunge toward certain disaster getting more apparent, just like feeling a noose being put around one's neck.

It gets so bad by this time that he can't even concentrate on his work. Before a New York doctor witnessing an operation, he almost kills the patient. Of course this happens after Nora tells him that she wants to call it quits (good timing!). Talbot can't give her up. He pursues her like a male moth pursues a pheromone laden female. She keeps pushing him away, but nothing can stop this guy by now.

By now everyone viewing this film has a clue that this guy is tormented by the demon of infidelity. He feels like a trapped rat in a corner. He wants to divorce his wife, but lacks the courage to tell her. The viewer can feel the gnawing dilemma within Dr. Talbot and by now is REALLY glad that he's not in his shoes! Enter Walter Bailey, played by John Ridgely. Bailey is a heart patient who, coincidentally, collapses and dies in Dr. Talbot's office the moment he is writing a note to his wife asking for a divorce. Talbot notices that Bailey is the same age, height and weight as himself. In a day before DNA identification, Talbot sees a way out of his dilemma. He places his ring, watch and money clip on Bailey, drives his 1941 Buick to a cliff somewhere in Carmel, CA, douses the interior of the car with alcohol and sets it on fire with (of course) Bailey in the driver's seat. It gets much worse, by the way...

So, Talbot "kills" himself in his endeavor to by with Nora. The continuing downward spiral gets a little more bizarre and precarious... He takes off to New York City with Nora and keeps informed with San Francisco newspapers about his death. He then notices that the District Attorney is investigating his death, so another factor is introduced in the plot: paranoia. He and Nora stay shut up in the hotel they're living in. Nora is perturbed that they're not living a "normal" life like everyone else. She is also confused as to why he is acting the way he is, not knowing what's being written in the San Francisco papers.

Talbot becomes even more paranoid when they go out dancing one evening and he runs into the same doctor who watched that botched operation mentioned earlier. He tells Nora that they have to leave NOW without explaining to her what the problem is. By now Nora is really perturbed about what's going on so she confronts him. He finally explains to her the mess that he got himself into, all because he wanted to be with her. The walls start to close in on Talbot as you can see him deteriorate in the seclusion of his hotel room. Hotel meals, newspapers and alcohol are all that he looks forward to in his `prison'. Nora gets a job as a singer at Phil DiNardo's (played by Robert Alda) nightclub and manages to make a living for both herself and her `prisoner' boyfriend.

Still another factor appears in the plot: jealousy. Talbot, who by now is calling himself Thompson, becomes enraged that Nora is spending too much time at the nightclub and with Phil. It doesn't help any when he reads in the gossip pages how Nora and Phil are `an item'. One night he slips out of his hotel room and goes to the nightclub, pummeling DiNardo and fleeing in the latter's car. As can be expected in this film, he speeds off, is pursued by the police and has an accident resulting in severe facial injuries. He treats his injuries like a blessing, thinking that his being altered in this way can let him live a `normal' life in the great outdoors without being identified by anyone. Can Dr. Talbot really put away his past self now? Not a chance. In perfect timing, the law arrests him because of a fingerprint identification on the can of alcohol he used in order to destroy his previous identity. Whew! They extradite him back to California where he is tried for the death of himself. He is so disfigured that not even his wife or past colleague, Dr. Joel Merriman, recognize him. He is sentenced to die and he makes Nora promise never to tell anyone who he is. Would you? Warner Brothers advertised the movie with a tremendous advertising campaign. The billboards asked: `If you were Nora, would you talk?'

If there ever was a deterrent for philandering, this is it. The film is filled with a tragedy of errors from beginning to end. Dr. Talbot's fall from grace is truly astounding. His impulsiveness at throwing caution to the wind, as one would say, shows the stupidity of one man on his ability in screwing up his life big time. It really leaves one chanting over and over again, `I'm glad I'm not this guy!'
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Bleak and Shocking
David (Handlinghandel)15 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie allows the viewer no easy out. Its female character cannot be hated. Ann Sheridan, not generally a favorite of mine, is excellent in a subdued performance and her character is very honorable. Well, apart from fooling around with a married man. But without that, we'd have no story.

The absolute destruction of the Kent Smith character is shocking. It is not entirely plausible psychologically, but this is a movie. His wife is cold and uninteresting. She doesn't even recognize him in court after he's had plastic surgery necessitated by an accident. And Sheridan is gorgeous and beautifully costumed and coifed.

Robert Alda, a very handsome and talented actor who ought to have been a huge star and but is known primarily because of his real-life son Alan, is likable as Sheridan's admiring boss.

But this movie is about the total degradation and disintegration of a man who's an upstanding citizen when we meet him. We see him leave his family, forego his career, become a disheveled savage in the identity he's taken on to be with the woman he lusts after, and finally we see him convicted of a murder he did not commit. But he is beyond caring about saving himself and we are left with our mouths agape.
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"I'm Willing to Die Remembering This"
BaronBl00d3 July 2006
Awfully frank thriller about a chance meeting between a doctor working late one night and a singer who gets a bad scrape in a minor accident hooking up into a extra-marital(for the doctor) relationship that heads South in a hurry. Kent Smith, the male lead from Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, plays Dr. Talbot rather nicely I thought. He portrays a man who has worked hard his whole life and sacrificed his "life" for his job and family. Ann Sheridan plays the genuinely nice singer who appeals to the doctor not only because of her beauty but her ability to see him for who and what he is. She does a phenomenal job in what really is a complex role. The rest of the cast is pretty decent. Bruce Bennett may come off miscast as a doctor, but Robert Alda as a night club owner and Rosemary DeCamp as Talbot's wife both excel. While not really a mystery - or a very ingenious one as we know what is going on early on, this picture really depicts what at once seems quite harmless and its transformation into something very harmful. Director Vincent Sherman is more than adequate behind the camera. Some might say this really isn't film noir - I can see some of their points - but this is noir all the way for me: the suggestive black and white cinematography, the voice-over narrator, the man being changed by the "dame," and the ending that is bittersweet. The biggest problem with Nora Prentiss is the title. Ann Sheridan was the box office grab - and this grabbed a lot of tickets - but she is not the star of the movie nor is her character the central character. Kent Smith is the star and a more appropriate title should have been selected. Hmmm...maybe, "The Cheating Surgeon" or "The Doomed Affair." Definitely needs more thought!
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Would You Keep Your Mouth Shut...?
Randy_D7 December 2000
Ann Sheridan gives an effective performance as the title character who has not had much luck when it comes to love. Unfortunately her luck only gets worse.

Kent Smith's character Dr. Talbot completely turns his life inside out and upside down in order to be with Ann Sheridan. (If there is anyone worth turning your life inside out for, it's Ann Sheridan ;-).

A worthy entry in the Film Noir canon, Nora Prentiss reveals two characters desperate to find happiness...but at what cost?

This film also has one of my favorite lines from a movie poster:

Would You Keep Your Mouth Shut If You Were Nora Prentiss?
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Very, very good movie!
kanez25 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I disagree completely with some of the comments on "Nora Prentiss". I think it is one of Ann Sheridan's and Kent Smith's finest pictures and contains one of their finest performances. It really is sad - a well-off doctor who ruins his entire life (see how he slowly goes downhill throughout the film) for the love of a woman - that's it in a nutshell. I feel so badly for him, and I wish Nora had told the truth to save his life! I always thought Kent Smith a very good actor and in this movie, w/Ann Sheridan, he and she both give excellent performances. Truly film noir with terrific photography by James Wong Howe and excellent direction by an underrated director, Vincent Sherman, who made many very good films.
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sol8 June 2006
**SPOILERS** Straight laced at his practice as a big city, San Francisco, doctor and wonderful family man Richard Talbot, Kent Smith,has never done anything more serious in his life then being late at his doctors office. That was all to change when one evening going to his car he ran into singer Nora Prentiss, Ann Sheridan. Nora has a fainting spell falling on the street and bruising herself. Bringing Nora up to his office Richard after treating her starts to slowly fall madly in love with Nora. That leads to him throwing away his very successful practice his family, wife and two children, and later even his life, which in the movie he loses twice. Where in the end Richard faces the California gas chamber for first degree murder. The movie "Nora Prentiss" is about a mans obsession. That obsession leads him into such depths of depression and depravity that he destroys everything he held near and dear to himself in order to keep the woman, Nora Prentiss, that drove him into this madness and in the end loses her as well. Nora for her part is totally unaware of how far her lover was willing to go to keep her from disappearing out of his life. Spending money like crazy on Nora and using the excuse of working late at the office so that his wife Lucy, Rosemary DeCamp, won't suspect his almost nightly lateness from home Richard is still very reluctant to divorce his wife, on what possible grounds? Then like heaven sent a patient of his Walter Bailey, John Ridgely, who not only fits Richards hight and weight but is even Richard's age,43, pops into his office one night and collapses and dies from a heart attack! Going to call the police to pick up the body Richard get this bright idea to switch identities and thus bury his past, as Dr. Richard Talbot, and start a new life as whoever he chooses with who he feels is the love of his life Nora Prentiss. Nora who was leaving for New York for a job as a singer at the Sea Gull Cafe run by her very close friend and former employer Phil Dinardo,Robert Alda, runs into Richard who excitedly tells Nora that he's divorcing his wife and within weeks when his divorce papers go through they'll be able to get married. Rchard in fact disposed of Bailey's body with his wedding ring on him to make it look like he was the one who was killed. In New York living like a fugitive from the law Richard has Nora becomes a bit annoyed of his constant secrecy and avoidance of people. It soon gets to the point where she's forced to live with Richard in a hotel room and only having her job at Phil's nightclub as the only contact with the outside world. Richard, now calling himself Robert Tompson, for his part constantly keeps up with the news back home in San Francisco and learns that his "death" is being investigated by the police as a murder suspect with evidence found at his office; The cops found a letter of divorce that he partly burned that's interpreted as a blackmail note. Also at the accident scene the police found a can of gasoline with his fingerprints on it. Richard finally lose it when he finds Nora, who by then he already confessed what he did, in her dressing room with Phil! That has him go into a jealous rage and attacks the startled nightclub owner. This causes the police to chase Richard all through the streets of Manhattan ending up in a fiery accident in Central Park with his face badly burned. With Phil not pressing charges and Richard getting a face-over, plastic surgery, it now looks like he and Nora can finally get married and put his life as Doctor Richard Talbot behind him. It's then his being fingerprinted by the police for car theft and those fingerprints matched those back in San Franciso on the can of gasoline come up as a match! This made Richard the number one suspect in his own murder! how's that for ultimate justice. Now with nothing to look forward to with his wife and family as well as Nora out of his life forever Richard, or as he's known now as Robert Thompson, can only sit in his dark prison cell and count the days leading up to his scheduled execution. He can also see what a mess he made of his life by reaching for something that he should have known was well out of his reach Nora Prentiss.
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Noirly perfect
tostinati24 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Scarlet Street is one of my favorite films noir. But seeing Nora Prentiss again recently for the first time in about 25 years, I am struck by a couple of aspects of Nora that make it superior to Scarlet, for this viewer.

For one thing, Dr. Talbot's wife and family are pleasant enough. Maybe a little square. --But the home Talbot forsakes has nothing at all in common with the loveless, bitter home life in which Chris Cross is trapped in Scarlet Street. So by the end of Nora Prentiss, you feel, doubly, the sting of the mistake this films anti-hero has made in leaving the life he had, in doomed pursuit of the other woman. In Scarlet Street, the choice between life as a homeless, haunted drifter, and a life suffered in total subjugation to a shrew and harpy, could be seen as a toss-up.

And for another thing, Ann Sheridan's Nora is not a vicious user, pushed close to cartoon character, as is Joan Bennett's Katherine March. She doesn't have an angle. She seems genuinely capable of loving Dr. Talbot for himself. His attraction to her is completely credible. Chris Cross has to be too naive to fall for callous Katherine March; Dr. Talbot only has to be a normal guy who feels an attraction to women to fall for Nora.

Fritz Lang would top most great directors lists, while Vincent Sherman wouldn't appear on them at all. Still, nobody ever said Sherman couldn't fly. And with James Wong Howe in the copilot seat as Director of Photography, the look and feel of Nora Prentiss are top notch, and occasionally striking. The visuals of the final scene between Nora and Dr. Talbot have an unsettling, horror-like nuance that made me think of Seconds -- another great Wong DP job.

This film hit a nerve with me as a casual viewer, first time I saw it, because serious dramatic films in which disfigurement played a part were all but nonexistent. --Especially so in films from Golden Age Hollywood, which seemed built as a towering facade of hunks and babes. Hollywood was so uncomfortable with this topic that, outside a hand full of horror films (like Tod Brownings' films with Lon Chaney Sr.), it was virtually never addressed, and less so after the silent era. There is some kind of shock in finding a film from 1947 that features this as a critical plot pivot.

9 of 10 stars. It never exactly goes for the grit, as Scarlet Street does. But what it delivers is, nonetheless, a peerless noir portrait of desperation and one's own nature fatally betraying self. For that, you have to consider it worth your while if you are more than a lukewarm devotee of the genre.
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Warners potboiler gave the Oomph Girl even more oomph!
blanche-26 June 2006
Ann Sheridan is a nightclub singer who gets involved with a straitlaced, married doctor in "Nora Prentiss" - and the consequences are interesting indeed. The doctor is played by Kent Smith, well-remembered by yours truly as the husband of Simone Simon in "Cat People." Though he never reached big movie stardom, Smith enjoyed a 40+ year career in film, on radio, and TV. In this, he's regimented and by the book, partly helped by his equally disciplined wife, played by another favorite of mine, Rosemary DeCamp, a wonderful actress. One night, Prentiss ends up in his office with a mild injury, and from then on, the good doctor can't imagine life without her and what he's been missing. Conflicted about asking his wife for a divorce, one day, an opportunity drops into his office, and nothing is the same again.

This is an intriguing film, but it takes a little bit too long to get to the point. The ending by '40s standards took me by surprise. Though Sheridan is nothing like Kay Francis, they both are women associated with a certain era - you can't think of Francis without thinking of her in those flowing '30s gowns and outfits - and you can't think of Sheridan without tailored suits and shoulder pads. They went along well with her earthy quality and low speaking voice. The overall effect was of someone who had been around the block but still had her dignity and self-respect. Photographed by James Wong Howe in this film, she looks marvelous. Though IMDb doesn't state if she did her own singing in "Nora Prentiss," if she didn't, the voice matched her speaking voice perfectly and sounded great.

Kent Smith is very good as the pent-up, frustrated doctor. One criticism would be that most of the time, doctors look at bodies clinically and aren't usually embarrassed by the site of a woman's knee, as Smith is in one of the opening scenes. However, he's very effective, as are Robert Alda and the always reliable Bruce Bennett in smaller roles.

This film apparently did a lot for Sheridan's career, which is understandable. Very good movie.
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Smith Shows his Stuff
dougdoepke7 November 2009
The rap on Kent Smith was that he was duller than dried cement. Probably that's why he was cast here as the emotionally repressed doctor. The doc is so colorless and unemotional in the early scenes, we see why wife Lucy (DeCamp) has withdrawn into her own bubble. Then too, his household appears to run on the proverbial dime, with only daughter Bunny (Hendrix) showing any real spark. Of course, all of this is necessary background to his eventual transformation once he meets sexpot Prentiss (Sheridan). From dutiful husband to reluctant philanderer to obsessed lover and finally to repentant criminal, Smith brings off the stages in low-key effective fashion, and I expect more than a few married spouses left the theater unsettled by what they had seen lurking under the doctor's calm exterior.

All in all, it's a grim little film, depicting a civilized man's descent into emotional darkness. I'm not sure why it's titled after Prentiss since the doctor is for all intents and purposes the main character. But Sheridan does get to show a lot of leg and mature appeal, although her character seems not very plausible once the doc becomes a burden. Someone called the movie a "woman's noir", and with its soap-operish overtones, the description seems to fit. Then too, noirish elements surface in those dark entrapment scenes, especially in the hotel room, (but why do they have separate rooms after they've run away together?). And especially noirish is heart patient Walter's existential lament amidst the big city-- if he dies, he wonders, who would know or care. The scene passes quickly, but is chillingly revealing.

The movie's underrated, probably because of Smith and the unrelentingly grim atmosphere. I just wish someone had scrubbed Alda's smarmy nightclub owner. He's totally unbelievable and compromises what could have been a memorably atmospheric very last shot. Nonetheless, it's an engrossing little morality tale, as long as you're not feeling too depressed.
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Not exactly film noir, but excellent thriller
krorie28 March 2006
Though labeled a film noir drama, this film doesn't really qualify for that genre. For one thing, the femme fatale, Nora Prentiss, is not really a femme fatale. She is a thoughtful, caring woman, who truly loves the good Doctor Talbot and earnestly tries to do what is best for him. She is played to perfection by the wonderful actress Ann Sheridan. Though Talbot loves her too, it is a more selfish, possessive kind. The one who sincerely loves her is her manager, Phil Dinardo, played with knowing skill by Robert Alda, but Nora does not return his love. He is more of a helpful long-time friend who is always there for her, even if she usually does not reciprocate.

Unfortunately, two of the main parts are given rather perfunctory readings by two ho-hum actors of the period, Kent Smith as Dr. Talbot and Bruce Bennett as his partner, Dr. Merriam. Too bad more capable Thespians were not assigned those roles, especially the key one of Dr. Talbot. Rosemary DeCamp is excellent in her cold hearted portrayal of the good doctor's nondescript wife. The viewer wonders how Dr. Talbot has tolerated her for all those years.

The story is exceptional, very complex yet realistic. Most of us have had one little event, at the time seemingly insignificant, drastically alter our workaday lives, sometimes for the good, other times for the bad. In this film it is an accident that occurs right in front of Dr. Talbot. Being a physician, he rushes to the aid of a pretty young nightclub singer, has her taken to his office, and proceeds to treat her. From that time on, the entire fabric of his life is changed. What twists and turns until the denouement! Director Vincent Sherman permits no cop out at the end.

This is one of those pictures where everything counts, including the music and the photography, to accentuate the main theme. Listen to the music and to the lyrics of the songs Nora Prentiss sings, in particular "Who Cares What People Say?" Cinematographer James Wong Howe blends San Francisco photography and crisp black and white interior shots into the story settings to emphasize the mood and the importance of a particular scene. Note for example how what look to be bars on Nora Prentiss' sweater in the lodge sequence indicate the happiness the two lovers are enjoying may be short lived.

The title is not a good one. Automatically one thinks of "Nora Prentiss" as a chick flick. It is not. There is little melodrama and not much sentiment. It is brash and harsh most of the way.
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Modern Day Version of Sister Carrie
bkoganbing26 April 2006
I'm surprised that no one has picked up on the fact that Nora Prentiss is merely an updated version of Theodore Dreiser's classic Sister Carrie. Since Dreiser had died a couple of years before, he didn't pick up on it or Warner Brothers would have had a libel suit on its hands.

Sister Carrie was set in the turn of the last century and dealt with Victorian mores. Even in post World War II America, it seems that not much has changed. Respectable and proper Kent Smith is a forty something doctor, married with two children, in a respectable middle class rut. He's about to break loose for some big life crisis. The catalyst for that is Ann Sheridan in the title role. Sheridan is a sultry night club singer who gets hit by a cab and is treated in Kent Smith's nearby office.

Had the film been made at Columbia, Rita Hayworth would have been ideal for the lead. But Ann Sheridan does do a good job and even does her own singing. Hayworth would have made the film a classic.

The film does descend into melodrama though moving far afield from the social commentary that Theodore Dreiser had in mind. But Kent Smith's character's degradation is as complete as Dreiser's George Hurstwood.

I would recommend seeing this film and the film that Sir Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones did, Carrie, and comparing the two versions.
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try_josua10 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is awesome, specially the last 20 minutes; Dr. Richard Talbot accused of killing Dr. Richard Talbot!! awesome; he can't say the truth, it is too painful for his family. Kent Smith is magnificent, also Ann Ssheridan in a more easy role. I still have no idea why this picture is so unknown for the majority of the people :( If you have the opportunity to see it, don't miss it!
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Talk about a bad mid-life crisis!!
MartinHafer2 April 2017
Dr. Talbot (Kent Smith) is married and has a successful practice. However, his wife neglects him terribly and seems much more concerned about her children, dinner parties and the like. So, when the Doc has an emergency patient, Nora Prentiss (Ann Sheridan), he finds himself drawn to her as she's everything the wife isn't. Not surprisingly (since the film telegraphed this), he soon begins an affair with her and eventually his wife does notice that something is amiss. But by now it seems too late...he wants out of the marriage but is basically a coward and is afraid to ask. One night, a seeming golden opportunity arises when a patient walks into his office late one night...and then promptly dies. The dead man is roughly the Doc's age and size...and Doc Talbot decides to convince everyone he's died and then he can run off with Nora. After all, the dead man had no family and Talbot is desperately unhappy. But this is the 1940s...and folks in Hollywood films never seem to get away with anything. So what's next for this really screwed up man and his lovely sweetie-pie?

Kent Smith is very good as the good it seems a shame that the movie is named after Sheridan's character. She is much less interesting and the film, despite the title, is clearly Smith's. He goes from a really nice, pitiful guy to a nasty and almost demented character....and this was very interesting and made it his film. I especially like how it all ends.....a truly memorable and unforgettable film! Sure, it's not exactly the most believable plot...but it is entertaining.
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Really Solid Movie
DKosty12324 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
TCM pulled this out as a 6PM feature. When I read the wild plot line I had to turn it on. I am glad I did. I remembered Ann Sheridan from childhood and in this movie she gives a fine performance. Kent Smith is excellent in his role of the Married Doctor who wants to leave his wife and family for the other woman but can't quite pull it off. When he finally gets up the nerve to write her and ask for a divorce, he is presented with an escape clause in a patient with a bad heart showing up and dying in his office. The patient just happens to be the same age, size, build as the doctor.

Dr Talbot (no relation to the Wolf Man as Lon Chaney Jr. had the same last name) then takes a can of flammable liquid, put it and the dead body in his car, drive it to the nearest cliff, start it on fire and then plant evidence that the burned body is his. All of this to run off with Sheridan, though I can't blame him. I think a lot of men would have made major sacrifices to run off with her then.

What then happens is Dr Talbot's best laid plans all get messed up. Robert Alda is very effective as Sheridan's best friend who has something in common with Talbot, he loves her too. I won't spoil the ending here except to say that this film noir period is very well served in this one by the cast and the way script is written. The atmosphere of movie is very well done. The reason it is not a perfect film is that the cops in this overlook a very obvious clue that they have the wrong man. What is interesting is they find the clue and do not put 2 & 2 together to make 4. Instead they ignore the obvious but in order for the script too work they have too.

This type of script could have been played weepy and soapy. This film rises above that do to some terrific acting by the cast. For Noir era fans, this movie is definitely worth at least a look.
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Scoval715 June 2006
I caught this movie on TV the other night and was mesmerized. A man is so taken with a girl that he fakes his own death, gives up a lucrative career and forsakes his children. Didn't he ever think of divorce? Ann Sheridan gives a memorable performance and ends up happy with yet another man that always loved her. She seems never to be without a suitor. A pitiful end for the good doctor, yet one cannot help thinking he was kind of stupid to do what he did. Then again, being in an unhappy marriage makes anyone act irrationally at times. I enjoyed this period piece. Kent Smith as the doctor is all right, not the best actor, but the picture is called Nora Prentiss. I enjoyed it. See it for yourself next time it is on television. I wouldn't mind watching it again.
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Lighting the Men-Nora
jarrodmcdonald-128 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
How can you not love a film like this? It's a splendid combination of melodrama, horror and gangster picture all rolled up into one. Not many films are made that way. And with such great performances, it's a real treat.

Warners' presentation of Ann Sheridan in a more serious role takes her away from her usual assignments as a saucy, wisecracking dame. This particular story has Sheridan as a nightclub singer who falls for a married doctor and naturally should not have him. But in utter and complete defiance of the production code, she does get him, and it leads to his utter and complete ruination. The film is bolstered by costars Kent Smith as the doctor, Rosemary de Camp as the doctor's wife, and Robert Alda as a gangster who wants Miss Sheridan all to himself. And frankly, who wouldn't..?
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nickrogers196930 September 2008
I thought this film noir was excellent. I really felt the anguish Talbot goes through because he did NOT kill anyone but got himself into a terrible situation just because of love. I can understand how wanting to love someone could make a person turn his whole life upside down. It gave everyone around him awful consequences. Guilt pulled them down.

Ann Sheridan and Kent Smith gave first rate performances. The direction and atmosphere make this a superior film noir even if it perhaps was made as a B movie. The sets and the costumes contribute to the feeling.

It's interesting to see how far Hollywood could go at the time to show sin and people committing crimes. The main characters, all though lovers, never share a bedroom. They are respectable to the end.
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Nora Prentiss- Reminded Me of Dead Ringer ****
edwagreen28 July 2009
This is one terrific movie proving that Kent Smith, who had the lead in the film, had absolutely no sex appeal whatsoever, but that's what was needed for his part of the doctor, enamored by a woman he treats. From there on, it's all down-hill for the good doctor.

Anybody realize that Alan Alda and Rosemary De Camp had been together in the magnificent Gershwin biography "Rhapsody in Blue." Surprising that Alda took this secondary part, but it was good for him, and I guess he had to follow the rules of his contract.

Remember how Bette Davis was on trial for killing her "husband" in "Dead Ringer," when in fact her evil twin had done her in and she in turn had killed her sister? Ironically, Kent Smith, our good doctor, goes on trial for killing the good doctor. He had also disguised himself when he traded places with a cardiac patient who had died in his office.

As the sultry nightclub singer, Ann Sheridan is terrific. What a dilemma she faced at movie's end. How could she allow Smith to die for something he didn't do. His "farewell" speech to her was impressing.

The Alda part came off as a gangster-want-to-be. His part would have been more impressive had he been a gangster. By the end, Sheridan had nothing more to do than to go with Alda.

How ironic that at the beginning Smith accuses Bruce Bennett, his fellow doctor-partner, for dereliction of duty, only to fall victim to the charms of a woman.

You have to give it to the Sheridan part. She knew that the affair with Smith would go nowhere. Too bad he didn't listen to her.

This film is above film noir. It was absolutely terrific.
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Ann Sheridan as Nora Prentiss.
haroldg-229 June 2001
'Nora Prentiss' is an old fashioned women's picture, directed by Warner Brothers' resident "women's director" Vincent Sherman, and starring Ann Sheridan.

Kent Smith plays a married, well respected San Francisco doctor who has an affair with nightclub singer Nora Prentiss (Sheridan), and then commits a crime in an effort to hide the affair from his wife (Rosemary DeCamp), leading to tragic consequences.

Not on the level of Warner Brothers lavishly produced Bette Davis vehicles earlier in the decade, 'Nora Prentiss' owes whatever interest it holds to Ann Sheridan's sincere performance. She has such a direct personality, so natural and real without any phoniness, you never doubt her convictions for a minute. And she gets to display her lovely singing voice in several musical numbers within the nightclub settings. She deserves better then she gets here, but rises about the quality of the material with her excellent performance.

Kent Smith is less effective as the doctor. Perhaps it's the role, but he's simply not very interesting. Rosemary DeCamp, usually cast in warm, sentimental roles, is quite good as the doctors cold, unloving wife. And Robert Alda is excellent as a nightclub owner in love with Nora Prentiss.

Recommended mostly for fans of Ann Sheridan and old fashioned "womens pictures."
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Effective Melodrama with a Most Capable Cast
mrb198027 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ah, the life of Dr. Richard Talbot...fine medical practice, wife and two kids, nice house in San Francisco, cabin in the mountains...then one day he meets--Nora Prentiss.

Talbot (Kent Smith) treats nightclub singer Nora Prentiss (Ann Sheridan) after a minor accident and then falls madly in love with her. His stuck-in-a-rut lifestyle, as well as his fussy, petulant wife (Rosemary DeCamp) send him over the edge, and the viewer can't blame him much. Talbot desperately wants to be with Prentiss, but can't bring himself to ask for a divorce, then in desperation fakes his death using the body of a patient who has dropped dead in his office.

Talbot and Prentiss then move to New York, where Talbot can't practice (he's supposedly dead) and doesn't tell Prentiss about his faked death. Eventually he confesses, steals Prentiss' boss' (Robert Alda's) car and crashes it, horribly disfiguring himself. Talbot is arrested, hauled back to San Francisco, and because everyone thinks he's someone else, is tried for his own murder! The final scene with Talbot going to the electric chair is good but unrelentingly downbeat.

I liked "Nora Prentiss" because of its attractive cast, good story, and interesting plot. Vincent Sherman directs in sure if not spectacular style. The presence of such actors as Bruce Bennett and an unbilled Roy Gordon add much to the movie. My big objection--and it's common among 1940s films--are the smart-mouthed, sarcastic, know-it-all cops who arrest Talbot. If the movie police were so smart, why didn't they figure out the real story?
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Doctor falls for night club singer
RanchoTuVu30 May 2013
A well-respected and well-off San Francisco doctor basically gives it all up for a doomed fling with a night club singer. Kent Smith as the doctor gives a decent performance with some high points in it, but the script doesn't really afford Ann Sheridan as the singer too many opportunities. For such a supposedly torrid romance, this one seems to avoid any hint of heat or passion. Nonetheless, Smith gets better as his character's social and professional standing deteriorates. Rosemary DeCamp's part as Smith's wife isn't too badly scripted, with a great scene of her at her teenage daughter's sixteenth birthday party which Smith had forgotten about due to his muted lusting after Sheridan. The film has a neat twist in it for an ending, which doesn't quite rescue it from its overall tepidness. The fact that James Wong Howe was the cinematographer is at least one compelling reason to watch this movie.
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Chick Noir
cutterccbaxter7 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Kent Smith portrays a doctor with a mustache who lives in San Fransico. He is married and he hooks up with a nightclub singer portrayed by Ann Sheridan. Kent wants to run off with Ann but he lacks the guts to tell his wife. Eventually Kent fakes his own death, so he can run off to New York City with Ann. In NYC Kent becomes so mentally unstable that he shaves off his mustache. Once his mustache is gone Kent's life becomes a complete shambles and he ends up being convicted for murdering himself. This okay by Kent because he knows he messed up big time he deserves to be punished. Nora Prentiss totally sucked me in. Yeah, the melodrama is laid on thick and the acting is clunky, but sometimes that's not such a bad thing.
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Not a great noir
Michael Bo17 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sultry torch singer Ann Sheridan meets stodgy family man and doctor Kent Smith. Their affair escalates and when a patient dies in his office Smith sees a way out to fake his own death and elope with Sheridan.

Vincent Sheridan's melodrama is quite a trite affair, not by a long shot the film noir it claims to be, although photographed by James Wong Howe and scored by Franz Waxman. The script makes an effort to glue the pieces together, but rarely succeeds amidst all the inconsistencies. A few of the lines might be worth quoting; i.e. the doctor tells mistress-to-be that he is working on a paper on heart ailments and she retorts , "Only a paper, I could write a book!".

Kent Smith is a little low on charisma, Ann Sheridan looks glorious but has little to work with, and Bruce Bennett (who is still alive at almost 99 while I am writing this!) is a tall, handsome devil as the doctor's bachelor colleague.
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