7.8/10
21,178
164 user 104 critic

Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | | Drama | December 1947 (USA)
Trailer
2:35 | Trailer
A group of nuns 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.

Writers:

Rumer Godden (adapted from the novel by), Michael Powell | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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. Eddie Whaley Jr. ... Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble Shaun Noble ... Con
Nancy Roberts Nancy Roberts ... Mother Dorothea
Ley On Ley On ... Phuba
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Storyline

Sister Clodagh, currently posted at the Convent of the Order of the Servants of Mary in Calcutta, has just been appointed the Sister Superior of the St. Faith convent, making her the youngest sister superior in the order. The appointment is despite the reservations of the Reverend Mother who believes Sister Clodagh not ready for such an assignment, especially because of its isolated location. The convent will be a new one located in the mountainside Palace of Mopu in the Himalayas, and is only possible through the donation by General Todo Rai of Mopu - "The Old General" - of the palace, where the Old General's father formerly kept his concubine. On the Old General's directive, the convent is to provide schooling to the children and young women, and general dispensary services to all native residents who live in the valley below the palace. Accompanying Sister Clodagh will be four of the other nuns, each chosen for a specific reason: Sister Briony for her strength, Sister Phillipa who ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of exquisite yearning in a strange and beautiful land. Towering over the screen...as the mountains that saw it happen. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #93. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning, the bell for the future school and infirmary is rung. As the bell swings forward towards the viewer, it partially disappears behind some scenery that depicts landscape which is supposed to be behind the bell. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mother Dorothea: Sita, go and tell Sister Clodagh I wish to speak with her.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits:- Convent Of The Order of The Servants Of Mary - Calcutta See more »

Alternate Versions

The flashbacks of Sister Clodagh's life prior to her becoming a nun were deleted from the original U.S prints of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in War Stories (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Great story telling but some strange exotica
26 May 1999 | by blue-3See all my reviews

A very well constructed story with good characters and imaginative photography and music. Quite amazing to think it was filmed almost entirely in England.

For someone familiar with India, Nepal and Tibet, a lot of suspension of disbelief was necessary, but few would have been so affected in 1947 no doubt. Darjeeling is the Anglicised corruption of Dorje Ling, the original Tibetan name for that region before it was acquired by the Brits. Some vaguely Tibetan and Nepalese clothing was evident, but nobody behaved anything like a Tibetan, though it must be said a fairly good attempt at a Nepalese girl by Jean Simmons. I just had to laugh at the sound of kookaburras in the bamboo in the small hours of the morning, dramatic intensity notwithstanding. :-)

Those small matters aside, it really is a wonderful piece of cinema, with those small matters being probably very much part of conventional wisdom at that time. Another wonderful legacy left us by the Powell and Pressburger team.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Narcissus See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP280,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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