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View All Black Narcissus News
All Critics (29)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (29)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (5)
This is a landmark of Hollywood-on-Thames trompe-l'oeil.
There's something truly unearthly about this place of howling winds, yawning chasms and atmosphere thick with temptation. Sanctity, it will be proven, is no match for sin.
Powell's equally extravagant visual style transforms it into a landscape of the mind -- grand and terrible in its thorough abstraction.
Production has gained much through being in color. The production and camerawork atone for minor lapses in the story, Jack Cardiff's photography being outstanding.
Theatre this Michael Powell film most certainly is, as stressed by the gothic melodrama of the story and the acting, the studio setting with its beautiful backdrops and vivid colours and the most deliberate of characters and events.
While Messrs. Powell and Pressburger may have a picture that will disturb and antagonize some, they also have in Black Narcissus an artistic accomplishment of no small proportions.
Designed and photographed with an almost breathtaking sense of beauty.
The natural colour is beautiful; but, more, the rhythm of camera movement is recurrently used in combination with an overtinting of the whole scene, at significant dramatic moments, to produce an emphasis we have not seen before.
The Archers at their most carnal-bonkers-sublime
Michael Powell was right when he called Black Narcissus an "erotic film," but the attraction is pure Pygmalionism.
A 1947 English film classic about the challenges of desire faced by some nuns in a new mission in the Himalayas.
Colonial hubris nunsploitation = an unforgettable movie.
In rugged outback In-juh, a handful of pious British nuns lean to their work amongst the sweaty, heathen native hordes, only the climate, the people, the atmosphere, and A MAN, all combine to insidiously fragment the constitutions of these seeking only the Lord's good work. Surprisingly filmed entirely in England in lustrous Technicolor, this adds little to the coliseum of opinion that going native is ultimately maddening, but does make for riveting entertainment nonetheless. Simmons and Sabu simmer showing subtle, subordinate, savage seduction.
Quite an amazing film - especially considering it was filmed in a studio 65 years ago using painted backdrops to represent the panoramic Himalayas. Even the topic is refreshing - not all goes according to plan even for nuns.
Nuns on a mountain? Heck yes! Glorious technicolor mountains (colored in with pastel chalks, according to IMDB) where a veritable fortress hides in the Himalayas. The sisters are sent there to administer medicine to the local population (although the local population is highly superstitious of them). The only friend they have waiting there for them is Mr. Dean (David Farrar), assistant to the General. Ironically, this "palace" was originally built to house the original General's many wives (and now it houses the brides of Christ). It's not long before the isolation begins playing at the minds of the nuns and they begin to have doubts of faith.
The technicolor illusions created in this film were said to be inspired by the dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and the amazingly vivid and colorful backdrops are almost worth the price of admission alone. The film is practically a painting come to life. The story of the nuns is amusing and sometimes frightening and directed with a real flair by writers/directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It is deservedly one of the top films of it's decade.
Visually, viscerally and, dare I say it, 'spiritually' breathtaking.
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