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.
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 concubines. 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
The last scene in the film, of the rains beginning as Mr. Dean watches the Sisters leaving Mopu, was carefully devised. It was Jack Cardiff's idea to have a few initial drops of rain hitting the foreground flowers. Cardiff was to later regret this brainstorm, however. There was originally meant to be a concluding scene, in which Sister Clodagh returns to Calcutta and speaks with the Mother Superior. Cardiff thought that this sequence featured some of the best work of his career, but the power of the rain scenes demanded that they end the film. See more »
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 »
Opening credits:- Convent of the Order of the Servants Calcutta See more »
The 'Madness of Sister Ruth' (Kathleen Byron) with a classic scene of all-stops-out, sex-starved insanity was removed from the original US version to avoid offending the Catholic Legion of Decency. See more »
I have now watched this film at least seven times and I am always startled by its majestic photography (all done in England and Wales), intelligent and modern dialog, and the way it dispels the dogmas of Catholic faith through cultural contact, the doubts of a non-believer, the inclement weather, the incredible height of inescapable premises, and ultimately the renunciation of a nun. Michael Powell's direction goes beyond impeccable: It is as near-perfect as one will see. But it is the psychological element, the bottled up hysteria of the nuns against the backdrop of forbidding nature, the aloof British male who is as much a Western peacock as the young Indian general who falls for the "beggarmaid," and above all the unraveling nun that provide the foundations for a riveting film with a climax to match and the most perfect ending sequence I can think of.
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