Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama


Black Narcissus (1947) Poster

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.


7.9/10
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  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Jean Simmons in Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons in Black Narcissus (1947)

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25 May 2000 | Mr. Moviegame
10
| One of the 3 most gorgeous films ever made
Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr) is promoted to Sister Superior, and sent to establish an Anglican mission/convent/school in a remote village high in the Himalayas. With her she brings several other nuns (a level-headed Judith Furse, an older nun Flora Robson, and a neophyte Kathleen Byron). The strange atmosphere of this remote region affects all those involved. Ruth (Kathleen Byron) falls hopelessly in love with a British jack-of-all trades and local agent (David Farrar). The surrounding events and Farrar's presence also rekindle Kerr's memories of a failed love affair she once had with a young man (Shaun Noble). When Noble left her life, Jesus Christ entered, and Kerr became a nun. Jean Simmons plays a beautiful beggar girl, who is placed in the care of Kerr by Farrar. Simmons later becomes Prince Dilip Raj's (Sabu's) wife, of sorts. The most stunning scenes occur toward the end of the movie. Ruth's mental disintegration and her pathetic pass at Farrar are very sad. Ruth's change in appearance is visually riveting, as much perhaps as Isabelle Adjani's transformation in The Story of Adele H. The performances by Kerr and Byron are superlative, their facial expressions revealing deep heartfelt emotion and pain. If you think Holly Hunter did a great (non-speaking) acting job in The Piano, see Black Narcissus for a real revelation!

This Powell-Pressburger film is one of the most beautifully photographed color movies ever made. Black Narcissus won two Academy awards, for art direction and cinematography. It would take over 3 decades for a comparable film (Days of Heaven) to come along. If you are fortunate enough to have viewed the laserdisc version of the movie, you will be able to listen to Powell and Scorsese do a running commentary of the movie. Toward the end, you will learn how the final scene was shot to a film score, and not the other way around.

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