IMDb > Black Narcissus (1947)
Black Narcissus
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Black Narcissus (1947) More at IMDbPro »

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Black Narcissus -- Trailer for this classic drama

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   13,200 votes »
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Writers:
Rumer Godden (adapted from the novel by)
Michael Powell (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Black Narcissus on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
December 1947 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Exquisite Yearning ! . . . Exotic Living ! High in a hidden mountain village of a strange land and extravagant dreams and desires become exciting realities ! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(197 articles)
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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison | Blu-ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 17 June 2014, 8:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Black Narcissus is a story of ghosts, wind, faith, frustration, sexual tension and madness. See more (126 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Deborah Kerr ... Sister Clodagh
Flora Robson ... Sister Philippa
Jenny Laird ... Sister Honey
Judith Furse ... Sister Briony

Kathleen Byron ... Sister Ruth

Esmond Knight ... The Old General

Sabu ... The Young General

David Farrar ... Mr. Dean

Jean Simmons ... Kanchi
May Hallatt ... Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr. ... Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble ... Con
Nancy Roberts ... Mother Dorothea
Ley On ... Phuba
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joan Cozier ... Girl in Classroom (uncredited)
Helen de Broy ... Clodagh's Mother in Flashback (uncredited)
Maxwell Foster ... Clodagh's Father in Flashback (uncredited)
Margaret Scudamore ... Clodagh's Grandmother in Flashback (uncredited)
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Directed by
Michael Powell 
Emeric Pressburger 
 
Writing credits
Rumer Godden (adapted from the novel by)

Michael Powell (written by) and
Emeric Pressburger (written by)

Produced by
George R. Busby .... assistant producer
Michael Powell .... producer
Emeric Pressburger .... producer
 
Original Music by
Brian Easdale (music and sound score composed by)
 
Cinematography by
Jack Cardiff (photographed in Technicolor by)
 
Film Editing by
Reginald Mills 
 
Casting by
Adele Raymond (uncredited)
 
Production Design by
Alfred Junge 
 
Costume Design by
Hein Heckroth 
 
Makeup Department
George Blackler .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Biddy Chrystal .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Ernest Gasser .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
June Robinson .... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sydney Streeter .... assistant director (as Sydney S. Streeter)
Laurie Knight .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Robert Lynn .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Pat MacDonnell .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Kenneth K. Rick .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Arthur Lawson .... assistant art director
Harold Batchelor .... chief construction manager (uncredited)
Ivor Beddoes .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Beatrice Dawson .... jewellery (uncredited)
Allan Harris .... draughtsman (uncredited)
William Kellner .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Don Picton .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Harry Rose .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Elliot Scott .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Stanley Lambourne .... sound
Gordon K. McCallum .... dubbing
John Dennis .... chief production mixer (uncredited)
George Paternoster .... boom operator (uncredited)
John Seabourne Jr. .... dubbing editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
E. Hague .... special effects (uncredited)
Jack Higgins .... special effects (uncredited)
Sydney Pearson .... special effects (uncredited)
James Snow .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
W. Percy Day .... process shots
Ivor Beddoes .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Arthur George Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
Thomas Sydney Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
W. Percy Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
Peter Ellenshaw .... assistant matte artist (uncredited)
E. Hague .... special effects camera (uncredited)
Jack Higgins .... foreground miniatures (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Dick Allport .... assistant camera: Technicolor (uncredited)
George Cannon .... still photographer: color (uncredited)
Christopher Challis .... camera operator (uncredited)
Ian Craig .... focus puller (uncredited)
Ronald Cross .... focus puller (uncredited)
Fred Daniels .... still photographer: portraits (uncredited)
Michael Livesey .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Max Rosher .... still photographer (uncredited)
Herbert Salisbury .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Stanley W. Sayer .... camera operator (uncredited)
Edward Scaife .... camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Wall .... lighting electrician (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Hein Heckroth .... costumes
Dorothy Edwards .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Elizabeth Hennings .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Bob Rayner .... wardrobe master (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Noreen Ackland .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Lee Doig .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Seymour Logie .... first assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Brian Easdale .... conductor: The London Symphony Orchestra
Ted Drake .... music recordist (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Joan Bridge .... associate colour control
Natalie Kalmus .... colour control
J. Arthur Rank .... presenter (as J.Arthur Rank)
Joanna Busby .... assistant continuity (uncredited)
Winifred Dyer .... continuity (uncredited)
Vivienne Knight .... publicist (uncredited)
Bill Paton .... assistant: Mr. Powell (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
100 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:S | Netherlands:12 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1947) | South Korea:12 (2004) | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (re-rating) (2005) | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (2005) (uncut) | UK:PG (re-rating) (1985) (uncut) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #11874, Adult Audience) | USA:TV-14 (TV rating) | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
A Technicolor corporation executive claimed that this film was the best example of the Technicolor process.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Two similar Christian religious statues are shown in the convent in the film. One is on the floor in the blue room where Dean first meets Sister Clodagh to talk business. It is hidden behind the nuns where they enter to speak to Dean. Another very similar statue, but bearing a cross (possibly St Faith), is shown next to Dean as he converses with Sister Clodagh. It has some packing material (straw) on it (19:02). Later on, this second statue is shown being unpacked from its crate by Dean and a servant to be placed above the doorway leading to the yard (27:27).See more »
Quotes:
Sister Clodagh:We all need discipline. You said yourself they're like children. Without discipline we should all behave like children.
Mr. Dean:Oh. Don't you like children, Sister?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Lullay My LikingSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
105 out of 112 people found the following review useful.
Black Narcissus is a story of ghosts, wind, faith, frustration, sexual tension and madness., 31 August 2001
Author: countryway_48864 from United States

I have seen Black Narcissus in three different ways. First I saw it in a movie theater when I was 7 or 8 with my mother. I remembered it as being beautiful to look at and rather strange, and I fell in love with the idea of The Roof of The World.

I next encountered Black Narcissus as an older adult. I purchased Black Narcissus in VHS format. I devoured the film scene by scene.

The film is ravishing, spectral and profound. The idea of someone being given a trust much heavier to bare than their abilities can handle opens the door to all sorts of possibilities. The suggestion that all the nun's had lives before they became nuns and not all of them are suited to "The Life" adds depth and tension. The introduction of a bare-chested, handsome man in shorts adds lust and temptation to the mix.

One of the best characters in the film is one that no other poster has mentioned. The marvelous character actress who plays the role of Aiyah, the caretaker of "The General's House of Women." A woman who is already slightly mad when the film begins. A woman who lives in the glorious past of the place. She conjures ghosts. She casts shadows. She has a voice as harsh as a parrot's. She is priceless and wonderful in every scene, for she is not just mad, but wise. She is the key to "The House of Women".

In the Alfred Hitchcock film of Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers, the mad housekeeper of Manderly, asks the new Mrs. DeWinter: "Do you believe that the dead come back to watch the living?" In Black Narcissus, the viewer gets the feeling that just around the next turn or at the top of the stairs is one of "The General's Women", watching these odd women who live without men.

A previous poster mentioned the superb sense of "place" in the film and I agree. The Palace is a player. It has a personality and a mystery of its own. So is the ever-present wind. Jack Cardiff, the genius who performed miracles with light and painted backdrops to photograph a film set in the Himalayas without ever leaving England, can't be praised highly enough.

The cast is splendid. Deborah Kerr's tortured Sister Clodagha registers every emotion, every longing, every doubt and every fear with her eyes and the set of her chin. Dame Flora Robson, better known as Elizabeth I in so many films, portrays Sister Philippa, the nun in spiritual crisis. Her, "I think it is this place. You can see too far. I think you either have to give in to it, like Mr. Dean, or leave", neatly sums up the entire film. When she can't bring herself to plant vegetables instead of the flowers she loves, she knows she MUST leave or lose herself and all she has worked for, forever. Judith Furse, the capable and sturdy Sister Brione has no such concerns. Hers is an unquestioning faith. Kathleen Byron as Sister Ruth, (the extra burden the Mother Superior foists on Sister Clodagha as a test of her dedication and skill at managing a small but dynamic group of women),is excellent in her demanding role as the nun who cracks.

A beautiful young Jean Simmons is sensuous as Kanchi who seduces Sabu who is very good as the young Prince, who has set himself to learn just about everything and who thinks the nun's shunning men "Isn't very nice. After all, Christ was a man..." He is named Black Narcissus by Sister Ruth.

David Ferrar as Mr. Dean may have "given in to the place" but he is still civilized enough to empathize with Sister Clodagha and resist Sister Ruth's advances. He has predicted that the nuns will last "until the rains come..."

Black Narcissus is filled with magic images and haunting echos. The "flowering of the snows" scene is breathtaking. The chapel scene frightening and tense. The "Bell" scene horrifying. The final view of "The House of Women", viewed by Sister Clodagha from the valley below is heart-stopping: A mist rises slowly and inch by inch blots out the Palace, until it is only a dream in your mind's eye. Then, a large leaf is seen. One drop falls. Then another, like tears of regret. A black umbrella is opened. Mr. Dean sits on his pony and runs his hand through his thick black hair. He had said the nuns would be gone with the first rain, and he was right.

Brian Easdale's brilliant score underlines the changing moods and the mounting terror, but never overwhelms the action.

My most recent encounter with Black Narcissus is the new Criterion DVD. The commentary and behind-the-scenes photographs and the marvelous documentary, Painting with Light, is as extraordinary as the film. It is a revelation. The sharper image doesn't bother me as much as it does a previous poster, but I do, when I have friends over to watch Black Narcissus, start with the VHS film and then put on the DVD for the special features. That way I get the best of both worlds.

If you love great films, great acting or just stunning cinematography, purchase Black Narcissus. It will haunt you forever.

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Message Boards

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Help me understand this movie? Please? do4600
Sister Ruth's mental condition erlend2
what's going on with mr. dean's little horse? lraymond1
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Greatest Technicolor film? BumpyRide
Why teach the children about weaponry? don-249
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