Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Year, New Movie: The Sin of Nora Moran (1933)

While Saturdays are my day for picking out a scary movie, it seemed appropriate to make Sundays a day for tales of immorality, which leads me to watch The Sin of Nora Moran tonight. 

"I'm not dying for something you did. I'm dying for all the good things you're going to do. And I'm dying rather than give up something that was precious to me--my life with you."

The Gist

Nora Moran has been sentenced to die for killing a man, but it turns out she is taking the blame to protect someone else. It comes down to the eleventh hour to find out if the real culprit will spare her the electric chair, but what eventually transpires is truly shocking.

Memorable Moments

Edith Crawford shows her brother, DA John Grant, 
love letters she has found from her husband's mistress.

Grant shows her the mistress.

Nora recalls the events that led up to her death sentence.

Scumbag Paulino slinks into Nora's train compartment at night.

Nora awakens to the horror of Paulino's brutality.

She finds love with Dick Crawford, who puts her up in a house.

Things go south.

The truth comes out about who killed Paulino.

It didn't matter that it was self defense.

Nora comes up with a solution.

"Eternal rest and perpetual light. Is that frightening?"

The movie poster that has nothing to do with the movie.


While this has all the hallmarks of a pre-code movie, including rape, infidelity and murder, with the unfaithful partners coming to no good end, the telling of it is unique. At the beginning, we are led to pre-judge Nora's character, but as the events of her life that led up to her fateful predicament are revealed, we learn that appearances can be deceiving.  It is rather harrowing as we see Nora being prepped for the electric chair, given a sedative, getting her head shaved, and having a coffin ordered from the mortuary. While she is resigned to her fate, the viewer holds on to the belief that she will escape the wrongful punishment. It's powerful and tragic.

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