Movie Review: Nora Prentiss (1947)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1947 drama starring Ann Sheridan and Kent Smith.

Synopsis: Dr. Talbot is so punctual and predictable, you could set a clock by him. However, as fate would have it, he runs 20 minutes late one day and, as a result, meets lounge singer Nora Prentiss. He falls in love and starts an affair with her but, unable to balance his secret romance with his family life and career, decides to fake his death. Unfortunately for him, the death is ruled a homicide and his alter ego, Robert Thompson, becomes the prime suspect.

Who's In It?


Since I know I won't get as much of an opportunity to do so over summer break, when the kids are home, I've been making an effort to get my fill of classic movies while home for lunch. This includes this film, which I came across a couple days ago and, having never seen it, decided to watch.

I didn't know much about this movie when I started it and, as a result of that, didn't know what to expect from it. Overall, however, I thought it was a really good film.

I think the thing I really liked about this movie was the way it generated conflicting feelings. There was part of me that felt a bit sorry for Dr. Talbot (Smith) and his boring, always-on-time life. But, while part of me was happy for him for meeting someone who made him want to change things up, there was also part of me that frowned upon his decision to sacrifice his family for his own happiness, especially when he forgets his daughter's (Wanda Hendrix) birthday as a result of it.

In fact, I think the latter was a big part of the reason I enjoyed watching him quickly fall apart to the point he couldn't function. His mental anguish, especially after faking his own death, was interesting because it, along with the hole he dug himself into, kept the ending from being as predictable as expected.

The most intriguing character in this film, however, had to be Dr. Talbot's wife (DeCamp). When the movie first introduces her, she comes off as prudish and controlling. But, as the movie progresses, it becomes clear that first impression is wrong. She cares deeply for her husband, is concerned for his well-being (even though I think she suspects his affair) and is even quick to cover for him when he forgets his daughter's birthday just so his daughter doesn't think any less of him and he doesn't feel guilty. The fact she is such a saint does make his affair and other actions seem even more selfish.

Nora Prentiss

A respected doctor (Kent Smith) fakes his death, deserts his family, throws away his career and drives himself to the edge of madness - all for the love of saloon singer Nora Pr...

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Final Opinion

This is actually a better movie than I thought it would be. It's an entertaining drama and a movie I would recommend taking the time to watch if you have a chance to.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 05/26/2016, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/31/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here does not have Nora Prentiss among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I expect not to be watching this interesting film any time in the immediate future.

What would you all think of this film as a colorized reboot or remake nowadays?

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