Deborah Kerr in Black Narcissus. Image courtesy of Universal Pictures
Black Narcissus (1947)
Five nuns react to their new environment, and battle their own personal demons, in a remote convent in the Himalayas.
The directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger crafted some of the most exquisite color cinema ever. Works like The Red Shoes (1948), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946) are jaw-dropping in both their aesthetic qualities and their cerebral complexity. Don’t ever assume the title tells you everything you need to know when watching a film from the Archers.
Black Narcissus is oft-considered one of the directing duo’s best, and it’s a work I’ve yet to take in. Deborah Kerr, best known for playing prim schoolmarms in The King and I (1956) and The Innocents (1961) leads the group of nuns who deal with their own internal struggles regarding greed and lust, for starters. I’m anticipating more esoteric themes to develop throughout. If it’s anything like my previous experiences with Powell and Pressburger, I suspect I’ll be thinking about this movie long after the credits roll. And there’s no denying the film will look utterly gorgeous. TCM is presenting Black Narcissus in nitrate – a film technique that presumably makes spectacular movie look more spectacular!
Next: Bonnie and Clyde