British -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Convents -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Culture conflict -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Godden, Rumer, 1907- . Black narcissus -- Film and video adaptations, Hospitals -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Missions -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Nuns -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama, Women -- Himalaya Mountains Region -- Drama

Black Narcissus

Imported Print


David Farrar, Flora Robson, Deborah Kerr, Sabu,

Jack Cardiff’s skillful camera work (which won him an Oscar) allows Powell and Pressburger to reach delirious heights of psychosexual melodrama. When young Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr) opens a school and hospital deep in the northern Indian wilderness, she and her fellow nuns find an environment unfriendly to self-restraint. As their liaison to the local villagers states: “There’s something in the atmosphere that makes everything seem exaggerated.” Though shot almost entirely on a London set, the film feels bathed in soft, natural mountain light. Thus, a sudden shock of color—vibrant murals, blood and lipstick in deep crimson—is all the more jolting.

Jonathan Knapp
  • Emeric Pressburger
  • Michael Powell
Based On
  • a novel by Rumer Godden

  • Jack Cardiff
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 100 mins
  • BFI
  • Park Circus

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Matters of life and death : the films of Michael Powell (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2002

A production of the Archers: the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (program note), Film Forum (New York), 1995

Powell and Pressburger: the best of British (article), Art Institute of Chicago. Film Center, Ian Christie, 1986

Black Narcissus: sex and the single nun (review), Reader (Los Angeles, Calif.), Dan Sallitt, 1983

Michael Powell and Powell & Pressburger: Black narcissus (program note), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, William K. Everson, 1981

Preview Dec. 31 - Feb.26 (program note), American Film Institute, 1981

Michael Powell: film artist (flyer), UCLA Film & Television Archive, 1981

Black narcissus (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1971

Black narcissus: a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the British National Film Archive (program note)

Black narcissus (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England)

Displaying 10 of 11 publicly available documents.

View all Black Narcissus documentation on CineFiles.