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Ghost Canyon

'The Sin of Nora Moran' [Blu-ray]
(Zita Johann, John Miljan, Alan Dinehart, Paul Cavanagh, Sarah Padden, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1933) 2020 / The Film Detective)

Overview: The Film Detective (TFD), a leading classic media streaming network and film archive that restores and distributes classic films for today’s cord-cutters, is proud to announce 'The Sin of Nora Moran' (1933) will be available to audiences this summer on DVD and in a special, limited-edition Blu-ray collectible (only 1,500 available).

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, this Poverty Row, Pre-Code marvel that stunned audiences when released in 1933, stars Zita Johann as Nora Moran, a young woman sentenced to death for a murder she did not commit.

Awaiting her sentence, Nora explores the patterns of her life in a dream-like haze, including the dark secret that could change not only her own fate, but the fate of those she holds most dear.

Directed by Phil Goldstone, who under "Phil Stone" also directed such works as both 'Backstage' 'Snowbound'), 'The Sin of Nora Moran' masterfully utilizes flashbacks, dreams and hallucinations to tell the tale of fateful doom, true to the thematic style of the Pre-Code era.

With the lesser captivating working title of 'The Woman in the Chair,' it's true that this is low-budget production, but it also comes complete, and at times even overflowingly, with high production values.

Directed by Phil Goldstone and starring Zita Johann, a notable stage actress with few films to her credit, here her characterization of Nora Moran offered her a very rare opportunity in a lead feature film performance.

The storyline is that an ex-circus performer, the titular Nora Moran, becomes a New York chorus girl and meets up-and-coming politician, and soon to be Governor, Dick Crawford (Paul Cavanagh), and they begin an affair.

Since Cavanagh is married, he sets up a neat little love shack for their off-the-books trysts, but after a few months of this, what can only be described as an accidental murder abruptly ends their love affair.

District Attorney John Grant (Alan Dinehart) - who also narrates the story - is assigned to prosecute Moran and as he actually also helped Cavanagh to win a state governorship, and is the brother of his cheated-on wife, well, things immediately look rather grim for Moran.

Complete with such music cues as both 'Nora Theme' and 'Love Theme', composed by Heinz Roemheld and introduced perfectly into this film - they were also used in other films produced by numerous low-budget studios in the mid-1930's, including Universal and Republic - the cinematography is rather excellent for its time too.

Sure there's a certain "cheapness" to the overall picture, but that's exactly what the director (in my mind) was going for. This isn't a pretty, colorful, and amusingly meandering film from 1933, but instead embodies a thoughtful, thought provoking screenplay that fully deserves its darker moments.

As for the lead roles here, well, in my humble opinion, the film definitely benefits from Johann being just so damn good in the title role.

She's very attractive, knows her cues, seemingly monitors her vocal responses to a tee, and also manages to deliver a fully rounded character performance.

A star of stage and screen, Johann was fresh from performances in Boris Karloff’s 'The Mummy' (1932) and Edward G. Robinson’s 'Tiger Shark' (1932), so delivering such a grand, if not haunting-at-times performance here was always on the cards, I'd like to think.

The supporting cast, including John Miljan, Alan Dinehart and Paul Cavanagh - as well as Henry B. Walthall in a brief part - are equally astute in their roles, but Johann shines like the bright star here (even in the most dullest of lit sets, at times).

To promote the release, TFD is holding a Willy Wonka-esque promotion, with one gold certificate sealed in one of the limited-edition Blu-rays.

The winning ticket holder will receive a framed, 27” x 41”, hand-pulled lithograph of the film’s original poster by painter Alberto Vargas, deemed one of the most iconic posters in film history.

Printed on Coventry 100% cotton archival paper with the finest quality archival ink using a rare, antique German Dufa printing press, by Society Ltd. (1999), the poster comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Packaged in in a sleek, black case — with elements from the film’s original poster — this spellbinding crime drama will be released with a stunning, new, 4K restoration of the film from the original 35mm camera negative.

The DVD is presented in Dolby Stereo and the Blu-ray in DTS, a restored, duel mono original. Aspect ratio is 1.37 pillar boxed.

Commented Sam Sherman, film producer and an heir to Johann’s estate, “A superior restoration of The Sin of Nora Moran in an elaborate, deluxe presentation.”

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1:37.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of being narrated by film historian and producer Samuel M. Sherman, an original documentary where Johann’s illustrious career takes center stage from Daniel Griffith at Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, with the Blu-ray including English subtitles and the DVD closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

The Blu-ray edition only will also include an exclusive collector's booklet with commentary on the production of and response to the film.

'The Sin of Nora Moran' will be available for purchase July 29th on DVD ($19.99) and in a collectible limited-edition Blu-ray ($24.99).

With only 1,500 Blu-ray editions available, fans can order a copy now by CLICKING HERE.