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

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   15,193 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 70% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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 4 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(213 articles)
Weekly Rushes. 9 December 2015
 (From MUBI. 9 December 2015, 6:51 AM, PST)

Weekly Rushes. 9 December 2015
 (From MUBI. 9 December 2015, 6:51 AM, PST)

In Inner Space: David Lean's Indian Investigations
 (From MUBI. 20 November 2015, 4:15 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Nuns story. See more (132 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)

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
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:
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?

Trivia:
The backdrops were blown-up black and white photographs. The art department then gave them their breathtaking colors by using pastel chalks on top of them.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: At 38:21, the way Clodah holds the pole changes.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:
Featured in Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic (2015) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Lullay My LikingSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
114 out of 123 people found the following review useful.
Nuns story., 2 April 2002
Author: dbdumonteil

As time goes by,Powell and Pressburger's movies become more and more important and crucial in the evolution of the seventh art.The first time I 'd seen "black narcissus" I had missed the whole point:this is the kind of film you've got to see several times.

Five nuns are leaving their Calcutta convent for a mission in the Himalaya mountains.In this place,where the wind never stops blowing,they will settle in an old "palace".These nuns have faith,they believe in what they are doing ,be it teaching,nursing,educating,or carrying the word of God.But their faith will clash with a thousand -tear-old wisdom(the Holy Man),a population who mixes up religion with magic,and Mister Dean, a Bunuelesque pragmatic man.

The natives will not change,but the nuns will.Their faith gets still tangled in prejudices;two examples:

-A young noble man wants to study in the mission.When sister Clodagh (Kerr) refuses,he points his finger at the crucifix and says "Wasn't HE a man?"" He took the shape of a man" the baffled nun answers.

-Sister Clodagh wants to get rid of the Holy Man,who spends his time gazing upon the world around him."What would Jesus Christ have done?" Dean ironically asks her.

After hearing sister Philippa's (Flora Robson)worried confidences,sister Clodagh feels that her past is coming back to haunt her.The flashbacks are extraordinary,dreamlike and a bit eerie.Clodagh comes to the door to meet her fiancé ,there's only darkness.The past and the present are worlds apart,in time and in space and seem to be two unconnected ones .It recalls the real world and the beyond in "a matter of life and death" (1946).And the infinite space of the 1946 work is here the highest mountains in the world.By the same token,the hunting with hounds flashback forecasts "gone to earth" (1949).Powell and Pressburger are real auteurs who build a coherent work.

The nuns actually discover that they are women made of flesh and blood.One of them,sister Ruth goes as far as falling in love with Dean and relinquishes religion.The night scene during which she paints her lips against a hellish backdrop in front of a terrified sister Clodagh is a riveting tour de force that even Luis Bunuel did not equal.The fighting around the (hell) bell between a white Clodagh and an all dressed in black Ruth will leave you on the edge of your seat.

There are so many things to say about "black narcissus":Jean Simmons appears in a silent ,but vicious part.This is probably Deborah Kerr's towering performance,and she's only on the threshold of a brilliant career -she will play a nun once more in John Huston's "heaven knows mister Allison" ,but although I do love that director,her part here is far superior-.Jack Cardiff's award-winning color cinematography was years ahead of its time.It works wonders in the sensual scenes but the most beautiful picture remains for me the last one when the rain begins to fall on green leaves.

A sparkling black diamond.

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