What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Plagued by uncertainties and worldly desires, five Protestant missionary nuns, led by Deborah Kerr's Sister Clodagh, struggle to establish a school in the desolate Himalayas. All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger's fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh, set against the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga. Criterion is proud to present Black Narcissus in a new Special Edition.
Appropriately enough for a picture named for a flower, Black Narcissus exists in a color-drenched, hothouse atmosphere. The setting is a nunnery in the Himalayas, where sister Deborah Kerr has her hands full with an envious nun (the remarkable Kathleen Byron) and a sardonic Englishman (David Farrar). Director Michael Powell and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger, the team responsible for the mid-forties masterpieces A Stairway to Heaven and The Red Shoes, decided to shoot Black Narcissus entirely in the studio, so they could create their own controlled, slightly unreal world. The choice paid off, as both art director Alfred Junge and cinematographer Jack Cardiff won Oscars for their blazing Technicolor work. The climactic sequence--a murder attempt on the cliffs of the cloister--bears special attention, as Powell "set" the sequence to a preexisting musical track, staging it as though it were a piece of visual choreography. Adding a bit of behind-the-scenes tension to the production was the fact that Kerr was the director's ex-mistress, and Byron his current one. "It was a situation not uncommon in show business, I was told," he later wrote, "but it was new to me." --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Top Customer Reviews
"Black Narcissus" is truly a cinematic classic. It won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and it is no wonder. The recreation of Mopu Palace on the mountain with its incredible drop are amazing and very realistic, especially for the 1940s. There are so many scenes that I love, but I don't want to give away the plot. The climactic ending is incredible, as is the "lipstick" scene between Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron)and Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr). I also love Sister Clodagh's flashback scenes, especially the one where Sister Clodagh's face is superimposed on the face of the character as a young woman, before she became a nun, telling the man she loves "I want to stay like this the rest of my life". A poignant moment when we realize that she became a nun to escape the shame of a failed love affair.
The movie can be rather strange at times; I found May Hallatt's character to be overdone in certain scenes, but at other times she is brilliant. Kathleen Byron as Sister Ruth is unforgettable, and Deborah Kerr is excellent, as usual. All the actors are quite good in their roles.
I wouldn't say that this movie is for everyone, but if you like good cinema, then give it a try.
Hot house nuns with barely suppressed libidos, cloistered in a Himalayan potentate's former love palace, with appropriately erotic artwork festooned upon every wall. A British agent, Mr. Dean (David Farrar) showing up in short shorts and sometimes bare chested, never mind the fact that the convent/school is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas at 8000 ft. with the wind constantly ripping through the windows (which no one seems able to close). A subplot involving a young Jean Simmons made up to like a tartish Bengali dancing girl thrown into the mix to provide a bit more sexual tension (a screenwriter's rip off of Bessy Watty from The Corn is Green, produced a year previous to this film and still fresh in viewers' minds). Add to this the fact that, when habited, Kathleen Byron looks remarkably similar to Paul Rubens (Pee Wee Herman), and you have the makings of a camp classic.
In all honesty, if you want a film with an interesting script as well as sexually frustrated nuns, I would highly recommend that you purchase a copy of Ken Russell's The Devils. That film has held up well over time and has a much better pedigree (adapted from Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon)to back it up. Despite the rave reviews you may hear about this Archer production, it's really just 100 minutes of silliness.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent sur toute la ligne. Produit de première qualité et expédié rapidement ! Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2013 by MFJ
Not up to expectations -- rather dull to tell the truth. Definitely a rental, not a purchase.Published on Oct. 5 2010 by ZybotCRX
A perfect film that uses metaphor, colour, landscape to portray an inner dimension to people previously unavailable to the screen. Pure genius. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2007 by Daniel Goorevitch
Great coluors , views;a bit dark ,at times but overall a fine print. The only wish that the description offerred at the end of the DVD had been transcribed into English. Read morePublished on July 8 2007 by 'Space Captain'
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
In my opinion, this film's plot was kind of boring and slow. Read more
Not only is this the most erotic British film ever made... it is one of the most erotic films ever and in terms of understanding what IS erotic, is a pre-eminent example of 'less... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2003 by Ian Muldoon
Visualy perfect, colorful, brilliantly directed and acted. My favorite Criterion Collection DVD. Only gets better with each viewing. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2003 by J. A. Stankunas
A lot of the people here give this movie glowing reviews, not in small part due to the cinematography. Basically, who cares if the filmwork is pretty if the movie stinks? Read morePublished on July 12 2003 by illiandantic
The first time I saw Black Narcissus, I was amazed by the use of light and color. That and the EXTREMELY good use of dialog and atmosphere to convey thoughts to you. Read morePublished on June 19 2003 by Strategos