MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 936 this week

Black Narcissus (1947)

 -  Drama  -  December 1947 (USA)
8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,404 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 104 critic

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.

Writers:

(adapted from the novel by), , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

yes
a list of 26 titles
created 28 Sep 2010
 
a list of 40 titles
created 02 Aug 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 14 Jul 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 27 Jul 2013
 
a list of 35 titles
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Black Narcissus" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Black Narcissus (1947)

Black Narcissus (1947) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Black Narcissus.

User Polls

Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Red Shoes (1948)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Peeping Tom (1960)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood. She meets her father in a fancy restaurant to tell him that she will ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire...even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on 1943 England, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
The Innocents (1961)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A re-editing of Gone to Earth (1950) after a disagreement and court case between director Michael Powell and producer David O. Selznick. Selznick's changes are mainly:- (1) Adding a ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Flora Robson ...
Jenny Laird ...
Sister Honey
Judith Furse ...
Sister Briony
...
Sister Ruth
...
The Old General
...
The Young General
...
Mr. Dean
...
Kanchi
May Hallatt ...
Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr. ...
Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble ...
Con
Nancy Roberts ...
Mother Dorothea
Ley On ...
Phuba
Edit

Storyline

Sister Clodah is dispatched with four other nuns to establish a new convent far in the Himalayas. It's a difficult journey and their new house is a ramshackle old building on the edge of a cliff that had been abandoned by a religious Brotherhood many years before. They soon establish a school and an infirmary though the local General's agent, Mr. Dean, warns them against treating the deathly ill as they would no doubt be blamed if the patient doesn't recover. The location, the culture and the mountain air all begin to have a strange effect on the Sisters. Sister Clodagh, who is also on her first assignment as Sister Superior, begins to remember a romance she had as a young woman before entering the sisterhood. Another however, becomes obsessed with Mr. Dean, which leads to tragedy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nun | convent | cliff | doubt | mountain | See All (206) »

Taglines:

Exquisite Yearning ! . . . Exotic Living ! High in a hidden mountain village of a strange land and extravagant dreams and desires become exciting realities ! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le narcisse noir  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£280,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The much admired Himalayan scenery was all created in the studio (with glass shots and hanging miniatures). See more »

Goofs

From 57:29 to 1:00:03, the glass of water is next to the short square black object, except when seen at 57:53 and 59:38. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Dean: [Meeting Sister Clodagh for the first time] I'm the general's agent. He welcomes you to Mopu. Understood you wanted to see me.
Sister Clodagh: We want to talk to you on business.
Mr. Dean: I didn't suppose you wanted to talk to me about anything else.
Mr. Dean: [Realizing his comment was a bit snarky] Sorry. Perhaps that wasn't fair.
Sister Clodagh: Mr. Dean, you know that General Toda Rai has given us this house for a new foundation of our Order. We very much appreciate it. It's very generous of him.
Mr. Dean: Yes. You'd like the General, Sister. He also ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits:- Convent of the Order of the Servants Calcutta See more »

Connections

Featured in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Human struggle defeated by place in a beautiful film
20 February 2000 | by (Moscow, Russian Federation) – See all my reviews

A small group of nuns, working nuns, not contemplatives, journey to the Himalayas to establish a school and dispensary in a high and remote deserted palace. It was a palace built for a ruler's women, and every wall painting, every decoration, contrasts the sensuality of this society with the chaste and energetic vocation of the nuns. Only Dean (David Farrar), the ruling General's Agent, links the steamy life of the valley with the wind-blown austerity of the nunnery above.

It is the destructive power of emotions reppressed and released that is most obvious in 'Black Narcissus', but more fundamental to this beautiful film is a stronger, yet quieter, ancient and more subtle power, that of place. The Himalayan setting is established surprisingly convincingly for the period, in a series of vivid shots that disclose the fact of that landscape's power from the beginning. And the particular quality, the particular power of that place is continuously present in the wind that blows constantly, stirring every fabric, every soft thing. Only as that power of place begins to work its insidious magic on the nuns does it begin to reveal its nature. Everyone there is affected, their practical efforts diverted by poetry and passion. Somehow flowers are planted, not potatoes. The Young General (Sabu) falls in love with a dancing girl (Jean Simmons). Two of the nuns are drawn to the rough Agent, already sunk into the life of the society around him. Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), the Sister Superior, initially drawn back to memories of her lover in Ireland, remains strong in her faith, yet is softened, becomes more human. Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron), on the other hand, becomes maddened by jealous passion and it is her tragedy, itself peculiarly bound up with the geography of the place, that brings the drama to an end.

The testing of a few people brought together in isolation is a familiar theme, but this is an unusual example. 'Black Narcissus' has an unusual symmetry: acceptance of this tainted life, in the person of the agent, is compared with the surrender to her passions of Sister Ruth, whose irrational passion, in turn, contrasts with the gentle loves of the Sister Clodagh; the abandonment of this world by the holy contemplative who lives in the nunnery grounds contrasts with the nun's holy yet practical struggles. So, too, we see the valley richly coloured, but the Mopu Palace nunnery almost monochrome, washed out.

The project at Mopu fails, the struggle against the genius of the place is abandoned. But not everything fails: Sister Clodagh has become wiser and less proud. Some struggles are too great, but we learn that there can be victories in small things: the Young General wins Kanchi, his dancing girl.

This is a fine film, well acted. David Farrar, though at times uneasy in a difficult role, requiring roughness and sympathy in equal measure, generally manages to strike the right balance. Kathleen Byron grows convincingly mad with jealousy and is stupendous in her dramatic final scene. Flora Robson, as Sister Phillipa, tending her gardens, has a small part which she plays to perfection. Deborah Kerr is outstanding: that Sister Clodagh has a fundamental sympathy disguised by pride is apparent from the beginning, and the progressive disclose of the quiet, loving, passion of her character, is finely judged. The art direction and cinematography, too, is excellent: the wind tugging at every fabric, the sputtering candles, the long shots of the landscape, Sister L pausing momentarily to caress a strikingly phallic baluster. It is astonishing that this was all achieved without leaving the suburbs of London. The music is ravishing and, in the later scenes, intense. Finally, in its emphasis on the spirit of place, even set in the Himalayas, 'Black Narcissus' is a very British film.


35 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Films that have the same look and feel smdpi-mail-com
Sister Ruth's mental condition erlend2
Sister Ruth removes book from table in face-off scene jumpy5
I don't understand the 8.0 rating LesterFester
a pity ho-aaron
The real psychotic in this film was... shankmaker
Discuss Black Narcissus (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?