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A weird and wonderful slab of homegrown surrealism, THE SIN OF NORA MORAN’s surprisingly complex narration and florid montage editing makes it well-deserving of the UCLA Festival of Preservation’s accolades as “haunting, hallucinatory, artistic, exploitative…maybe the best Hollywood B-movie of the 1930s.” Best known in its day for its salacious poster, Phil Goldstone’s cheapie has enough nested flashbacks to doom a dozen film noirs, striking given the early production date. Indeed, THE SIN OF NORA MORAN can be said to anticipate the elaborate narrative designs of CITIZEN KANE and Edgar Ulmer’s RUTHLESS even as the story stays on Pre-Code level of adultery, opiates, execution and circus sideshows. Women’s picture conventions of suffering and self-sacrifice are pushed to delirious extremes, with the titular heroine finally coming to seem like Poverty Row’s very own Joan of Arc.

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