Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama

Black Narcissus (1947) Poster

A group of nuns struggle to establish a convent in the Himalayas, while isolation, extreme weather, altitude, and culture clashes all conspire to drive the well-intentioned missionaries mad.




  • Deborah Kerr in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Jean Simmons in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Jean Simmons in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)

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User Reviews

18 February 2010 | lastliberal
| Do you see that crate? Sausages! They will eat sausages. Europeans eat sausages wherever they go.
There is no doubt that this is a beautiful movie. The cinematography in the Himalayas is breathtaking.

It is also a fascinating movie, as Deborah Kerr plays Sister Clodagh, the youngest Mother Superior in the history of the order, and charged with establishing a school and hospital in the Himalayas.

British Agent Mr. Dean, played by David Farrar, provides the sexual innuendo in a facility that was designed to be the residence of the General's harem.

With Mr. Dean in the middle, there has to be another bookend. It is Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron), who, like Sister Clodaggh, is attracted to Mr. Dean. This attraction turns the film into a horror movie in the last 20 minutes.

The main feature of the film is the cinematography. It doesn't present much more than that as the story is rather thin. That's enough, plus the acting of Deborah Kerr to make this worth watching if you can ignore the colonialism in presenting a film on Easterners.

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Did You Know?


The Legion of Decency still held great sway on filmgoing habits in America, and a "Condemned" movie would eliminate a huge number of ticket sales. This movie had already opened in New York City, NY and Los Angeles, CA, but the ban interfered with scheduled openings in other cities, such as Detroit, MI and Memphis, TN. The J. Arthur Rank Organisation was in a bad position. Parliament had just imposed a seventy-five percent duty on American movies imported to England, and Hollywood was temporarily boycotting the British market. The few British movies that could play well in America were encouraged as a goodwill gesture, so the J. Arthur Rank Organisation was anxious that this movie play in as many American cities as possible. The only option they saw was to make cuts to this movie to satisfy the Legion of Decency. The movie was edited by nine hundred feet or so - ten cuts in all. All of Sister Clodagh's (Deborah Kerr's) memories of Ireland were cut, accounting for most of the offending footage. The close-up of Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) applying lipstick also fell victim to censorship, and a few lines of suggestive dialogue were also eliminated; e.g., Mr. Dean's (David Farrar's) line to Sister Briony (Judith Furse), "You will be doing me a great favor when you educate the local girls." Finally, the wording of the foreword was changed so that there would be no possibility to mistake the order of nuns as Catholic. Now it said that "a group of Protestant nuns in mysterious India find adventure, sacrifice, and tragedy." Now satisfied, the ban was removed and this movie was released with an A2 classification from the Legion.


Mother Dorothea: Sita, go and tell Sister Clodagh I wish to speak with her.


(at around 1h 35 mins) Sister Ruth picks up Mr. Dean's pipe, which is 'smoking' from an ashtray. She walks away, still holding the pipe, and the ashtray continues to emit trails of smoke.

Crazy Credits

Opening credits:- Convent Of The Order of The Servants Of Mary - Calcutta

Alternate Versions

The flashbacks of Sister Clodagh's life prior to her becoming a nun were deleted from the original U.S prints of the film.


Lullay My Liking
Old Edwardian Carol
Music by Sir Richard Terry
New music by
Brian Easdale


Plot Summary



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