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Black Narcissus (Criterion Collection) (1947)

Cast: Deborah Kerr, Deborah Kerr, Sabu, more...
Director: Emeric Pressburger, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Classics, Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Classic Drama, British Drama, Classic Drama, UK, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 101 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Synopsis
British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger once again deliberately courted controversy and censorship with their 1947 adaptation of Rumer Godden's novel. Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron play the head nuns at an Anglican hospital/school high in the Himalayas. The nuns' well-ordered existence is disturbed by the presence of a handsome British government agent (David Farrar), whose attractiveness gives certain sisters the wrong ideas. Meanwhile, an Indian girl (Jean Simmons) is lured down the road to perdition by a sensuous general (Sabu). While Kerr would seem most susceptible to fall from grace --we are given hints of her earlier love life in a long flashback--she proves to have more stamina than Byron, who delivers one of moviedom's classic interpretations of all-stops-out, sex-starved insanity. The aforementioned flashback was removed from the US release version of Black Narcissus so as not to offend the Catholic Legion of Decency. While the dramatic content of the film hasn't stood the test of time all that well, the individual performances, production values, and especially the Oscar-winning Technicolor photography of Jack Cardiff are still as impressive as ever. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Video introduction by filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
  • The Audacious Adventurer, a video piece in which Tavernier discusses the film and Powell
  • Profile of Black Narcissus, a documentary featuring members of the Archers' production team
  • Audio commentary: a conversation with late director Michael Powell and Martin Scorsese
  • PAINTING WITH LIGHT, a new 27-minute documentary on Jack Cardiff and BLACK NARCISSUS by Craig McCall, created for this release
  • A collection of rare behind-the-scenes production stills, including shots not used in the final version of the film
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, created with the participation of cinematographer Jack Cardiff and director Michael Powell's widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell
  • Original theatrical trailer


GreenCine Member Reviews

The Black Narcissus by EDriscoll March 1, 2008 - 7:55 PM PST
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3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I have just watched this film for the second time and feel it holds up well on repeat viewing. Although the film is dated by todays standards, I find it refreshing in it simplicity and straightforward presentation.
The cast of Deborah Kerr and Flora Robson put in first class performances, and the background of the mountain monastery and the difficult life of the nuns sent there to help the natives with education and medical care is well portrayed.
The effect of this difficult life and the stress on the nuns is presented in an authentic manner.
Sometimes it is pleasant to enjoy the life of a past era with all its challenges

Awe by randomcha December 5, 2005 - 5:03 PM PST
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6 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Quite seriously some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful cinematography in the history of filmmaking. Everything is steeped in a weird, sensuous atmosphere (reminiscent of Capra's "The Bitter Tea of General Yen) that you just can't put your finger on. I think you find traces of its' influence in everything from "Apocalypse Now" to "The Last Emperor."

The bonus stuff is fascinating.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 8.07)
151 Votes
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BFI's Top 100 British Films of the 20th Century
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In 1999 the BFI surveyed 1000 people from the world of UK film and television to produce this list. A few of the selected films were wholly or partly produced by non-UK companies, but but were perceived by voters as having significant British involvement
etaviotal
"If you like Croneberg you may also like... "
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A random list of goodness with no particular theme -- really!
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