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

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Black Narcissus -- A group of nuns (played by some of Britain's finest actresses, including Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron, and Flora Robson) 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.
Black Narcissus -- Trailer for this classic drama


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8.0/10   14,813 votes »
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Up 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Rumer Godden (adapted from the novel by)
Michael Powell (written by) ...
View company contact information for Black Narcissus on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
December 1947 (USA) See more »
Exquisite Yearning ! . . . Exotic Living ! High in a hidden mountain village of a strange land and extravagant dreams and desires become exciting realities ! See more »
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:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins See more »
(208 articles)
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User Reviews:
Superb - beautiful Technicolor. See more (127 total) »


  (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)

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:
100 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:S | Netherlands:12 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1947) | South Korea:12 (2004) | Sweden:15 | 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?

Jack Cardiff drew inspiration for his shots from the great painters; he experimented with the tones of Van Gogh, for example, or the reds and greens from Rembrandt. In her British Film Guide book on Black Narcissus, Sarah Smith quotes Cardiff, who explained the influence of Vermeer and Caravaggio: "They both lit with very simple light. Many painters did, but with Vermeer and Caravaggio you were very conscious of it; they really used the shadows. Caravaggio would just have one sweeping light over everything so that you were aware of the single light." The resulting lighting was unusual for Technicolor films of the time, and initially caused concern for Technicolor consultant Natalie Kalmus. She grew to appreciate the look Cardiff was creating once she saw the initial rushes, however.See more »
Continuity: At 38:21, the way Clodah holds the pole changes.See more »
Mother Dorothea:Give her responsibility, Sister. She badly wants importance.
Sister Clodagh:Do you think it's a good thing to let her feel important?
Mother Dorothea:Spare her some of your own importance... if you can.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) (TV)See more »
Lullay My LikingSee more »


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32 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
Superb - beautiful Technicolor., 10 December 2003
Author: Saman Perera from Houston, Texas

The story line for this movie has been covered by many reviewers and I will make no attempt to further explain the plot. What I will point you to are the most incredible cinematography and acting elements of this classic presentation. Technicolor is remarkably presented by Jack Cardiff and I have yet to see a movie which is so visually vibrant and pleasing. Some of the still paintings and sets at Pinewood are truly remarkable considering this picture was made over 50 years ago. Alfred Junge must take credit for those remarkable designs and sets. The acting is pure theater with an absolutely insane delivery by Kathleen Byron (Sister Ruth) as the emotionally fragile nun slowly loosing grip with reality. Her red lipstick scene is pure magic as is her appearance from the large wooden doors, pale, insane and soaked in water towards the end of the movie. What a terrific shot displaying her insanity captured in all the right mood, music and color. Deborah Kerr (Sister Clodagh) does same amazing acting with visual delight and incredible facial expressions. Her anger scenes are quite remarkable throughout the film as she shakes with pure venom at Sister Ruth. The terror in her face where she prays alone in the chapel with Sister Ruth roaming the stairways is quite remarkable. There are many other memorable scenes with light, color and music which makes this the best movie of Powell and Pressburger (IMHO). Buy the Criterion DVD and watch it endlessly.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (127 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Black Narcissus (1947)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Blacking up andrewbanks
Greatest Technicolor film? BumpyRide
Am I missing something with Sister Philippa? humdrumhum-144-411611
The real psychotic in this film was... shankmaker
Help me understand this movie? Please? do4600
Sister Ruth's mental condition erlend2
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