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 »
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Popularity
4,396 ( 1,698)
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:

Exquisite Yearning ! . . . Exotic Living ! High in a hidden mountain village of a strange land and extravagant dreams and desires become exciting realities ! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The locals call the nuns "lemini" (which sounds like "lemony"), an obscure word that appears to mean something like "sister". It is taken directly from Rumer Godden's original novel. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1 min) There is a statue of the crucified Christ, complete with the requisite wounds. However, the wound on his chest is on the wrong side - it is always shown on the left side; this one is on the right. Note that this is merely an artistic convention; the Bible (John 19:34) does not mention which side was pierced. 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 A Profile of 'The Red Shoes' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullay My Liking
(uncredited)
Old Edwardian Carol
Music by Sir Richard Terry
New music by Brian Easdale
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User Reviews

Brooding atmosphere of its own...gorgeous color photography...
6 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Deborah Kerr is designated to establish a convent in the Himalayas at a remote cliffside dwelling, a palace of dubious origin. She takes her assignment seriously and faces strange customs and unfamiliar peoples as well as a harsh climate. There are inner struggles as well, and Kerr is excellent at revealing these. Huge closeups reveal what her character is supposedly thinking as she peers at others, often in unspoken disapproval of their actions, particularly David Farrar, Jean Simmons (as an Indian girl), and Kathleen Byron--who gives the film's most urgent performance as the distraught nun with worldly pleasures on her mind. Kerr gives a faultless performance, the mainstay of the film, since most of the story is seen from her viewpoint.

The striking color photography and set decoration were rightfully awarded Oscars. A haunting, powerful study of the effects of loneliness and isolation on a group of nuns--and what happens when one of them goes beserk. The struggle between the two nuns at the bell tower is one of the most gripping climaxes ever. A richly detailed British film with a windswept atmosphere all its own.


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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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