Nora Prentiss

Nora Prentiss is a 1947 black-and-white drama film noir directed by Vincent Sherman, and starring Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Bruce Bennett and Robert Alda.[3] Sherman also directed leading lady Sheridan in another 1947 film noir, The Unfaithful. The cinematography is by cinematographer James Wong Howe, and the music was composed by Franz Waxman.

Nora Prentiss
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVincent Sherman
Produced byWilliam Jacobs
Screenplay byN. Richard Nash
Story byPaul Webster
Jack Sobell
StarringAnn Sheridan
Kent Smith
Bruce Bennett
Robert Alda
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byOwen Marks
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.4 million (US rentals)[2] or $3,324,000[1]


Dr. Richard Talbot, unhappy with the dull routine of his married life, begins an affair with nightclub singer Nora Prentiss. Feeling unable to ask his wife for a divorce, he fakes his own death by substituting a dead man's body for his own. He and Nora then move from San Francisco to New York, where Nora continues her singing career. Meanwhile, Talbot drinks heavily and becomes increasingly paranoid and reclusive as he learns that his death is under investigation. After a fight with Nora's nightclub boss, Talbot crashes his car and his face is badly scarred. The police, not realizing that the man is Talbot, arrest him for Talbot's murder. Guilty about the suffering he caused his family and feeling he has no future, Talbot convinces Prentiss to keep his secret, allowing him to be convicted and executed.



Box Office

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $2,229,000 domestically and $1,095,000 foreign.[1]

Critical response

When the film was released, the staff at Variety magazine gave the film an unfavorable review:

Nora Prentiss is an overlong melodrama, a story of romance between a married man and a girl. But it's never quite believable. Ann Sheridan makes much of her role but the production has unsympathetic slant for leads and a lack of smoothness ... Sheridan is the singer, and has two tunes to warble. As the doctor, Kent Smith is okay dramatically in a part that doesn't hold much water. Bruce Bennett, co-starred, has little to do as a medico friend of Smith's.[4]

Noir analysis

Critics call the movie one of the best "woman's noir." Film historian Bob Porfirio notes, "Unlike such other Ann Sheridan or Joan Crawford motion pictures as The Unfaithful, Flamingo Road, and The Damned Don't Cry!, Nora Prentiss does not lapse into a romantic melodrama that might detract from the maudit sensibility, the quintessential element of film noir."[5]


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 27 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  3. Nora Prentiss at the TCM Movie Database.
  4. "Nora Prentiss", film review, Variety, December 31, 1946. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  5. Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward (1993). Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference to the American Style ("Nora Prentiss" article, page 214). Overlook TP. ISBN 0-87951-479-5.
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