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Poverty Row Films: The Sin of Nora Moran (1933)

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Raleigh Studios

5300 Melrose Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90038

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Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch: Poverty Row Films Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive (October 27 - December 8)

Hosted by Raleigh Studios in Hollywood


Q&A with actress Cora Sue Collins!

The Sin of Nora Moran (1933)

The Sin of Nora Moran is neither classic, nor camp, but a unique mélange of both. Its standard pre-Code plot (victimized woman descends into a life of degradation) and extremely low budget were common to B-pictures of the period. The film’s promotional materials tend to exploit the salacious angle. But it’s telling of the story that elevates Nora Moran into a class all its own. This it accomplishes through a series of flashbacks, flash-forwards and flashbacks-within-flashbacks so complex that the entire narrative structure quickly ceases to make sense, assuming a free-form, dream-like quality that enhances rather than detracts from it.

Contemporary reviews likened it to The Power and the Glory, due to its borrowing of that picture’s narrative devices. Although the Sturges-Howard collaboration clearly is the better film, it’s still the more traditional of the two for all its revolutionary technique. Certainly nothing like Nora Moran had ever come from Phil Goldstone, a Poverty Row producer since 1921 whose best-known effort remains The Vampire Bat (1933). Sources speculate that someone other than Goldstone, who took over from the original director, Howard Christy, was responsible. However the film happened, film buffs rejoice. Haunting, hallucinatory, artistic, exploitivethis may be the best B-film of the 1930s.

DCP, b/w, 65 min. Director: Phil Goldstone. Production: Majestic Pictures Corp. Producer: Phil Goldstone. Screenwriter: Frances Hyland, based on the play by W. Maxwell Goodhue. Cast: Zita Johann, John Miljan, Alan Dinehart, Paul Cavanaugh, Claire Dubrey, Cora Sue Collins.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute.


Preceded by

Hearst Metrotone News, Vol. 4, No. 269 (1933) Short newsreel.

Balloon Land (1935) Animation. Director: Ib Iwerks.

Please note

All Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch: Poverty Row Films Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive screenings will take place at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA. Please enter the lot on Van Ness Ave. and prepare to show an ID at the gate to access free parking.

There will be an opening night fundraising gala on Saturday, October 27.

Learn more about this film series.

Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch

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Raleigh Studios

5300 Melrose Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90038

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