I had the great pleasure to revisit this tremendous film for Way Too Indie. My coverage of that, and other P&P films, can be found here: waytooindie.com/news/tiff-technicolor-and-the-archers-in-three-two-one/
Intriguing, well crafted, but somewhat tedious drama from the Archers Production directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Deborah Kerr leads a group of inexperienced nuns from India into Nepal to a high mountain pass that has been unable to hitherto maintain a nunnery.
Color cinemascope is used to the maximum effect and the art direction is to die for.
Still, why the nuns start to experience insanity because of the high altitude as well as question their faith remained somewhat unclear.
Inevitable ending still holds much power.
Much as I love that comforting feeling when watching a film that follows a familiar plot template (which is roughly 95% of them, probably), there's a real thrill associated with something like Black Narcissus, a unique, almost genre-less, totally unpredictable work of technicolor art / magic.
Powell and Pressburger had the sheer audacity to recreate the fucking Himalayas in a London studio, and not just succeed in creating a convincing setting, but also create one of the most outrageously stunning…
I struggle with acting before the 60's....but I do love a good nunnery. Gonna try again with Scorsese's commentary.....
This is an extremely beautiful film. I really liked the set design and all the paintings they used for the backdrops. It also had very good performances from the leads. Kathleen Byron was especially good as Sister Ruth. She managed to be both tragic and frightening. My only real complaint is that it was very obvious that Kanchi was actually white.
Title: Black Narcissus
Runtime: 100 mins
Directed By: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Technicolor: Of Course
Ease of Googling that Information: Very
Prior Knowledge of FIlm: None
Expected Rating: ★★★★
Actual Rating: ★★★★
Time Started: 16:40
Lectures Attended Prior: 2/2
Previous Night's Sleep: 6.5 hrs
Fatigue Factor: 3/10
Deranged Women Featured: 1
Mentions of Sausages: 1
Relevance of Above Information:: 4/10
I had grown up quite privileged. Not that my every desire had been handed to me on…
Black Narcissus is a perfect, utterly compulsive film. It has a uniquely strange, brooding atmosphere and is pregnant with strangled emotions of desire, lust and jealousy. From its perfectly judged editing and measured pace, to its extraordinary use of colour, every moment is perfectly composed and every frame is a thing of beauty.
It seems to me an amazing technical achievement in every respect.
Black Narcissus would have also fit quite perfectly into next month's season, Films of Unease, Disquiet and Pervasive Dread (Part 1)
A hard film to categorize and a bit slow in the middle but still stands as one of the most beautifully shot and best examples of technicolor on film.
I can tell it's gonna be incredibly difficult choosing a favorite Archers film. All the ones I've seen have been pretty friggin magnificent. This one especially played into a lot of the things that I find interesting, such as sexual repression. Supposedly a lot of this film was trimmed down for the initial American release and it's not hard to see why! This film is just bubbling with wonderful tensions, with the "villain" of the film SPOILER going totally mad…
Gorgeous movie. I'd put this just behind Blimp and The Red Shoes, but really wonderful all around. I'm sure I'll watch it many more times.
Gorgeous sets & backgrounds. Very colorful. The melodrama works well given the story.
SO beautiful and a little strange, morphing from moralistic drama to intense psycho-thriller in the final act. Brownface is super distracting but not a big part of the movie, at least. Also David Farrar's voice is ooooo <3 <3