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This explosive work about the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is the epitome of the sensuous style of filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (I Know Where I’m Going!, The Red Shoes). A group of nuns—played by some of Britain’s best actresses, including Deborah Kerr (From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember), Flora Robson (The Rise of Catherine the Great, Wuthering Heights), and Jean Simmons (Great Expectations, Hamlet)—struggles to establish a convent in the snowcapped Himalayas; isolation, extreme weather, altitude, and culture clashes all conspire to drive the well-intentioned missionaries mad. A darkly grand film that won Oscars for its set design and for its cinematography by Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, The African Queen), Black Narcissus is one of the greatest achievements by two of cinema’s true visionaries.
The Criterion Collection takes its second go at the Powell-Pressburger classic Black Narcissus, first issued by the company as title no. 93 in 2001. This 2010 disc retains some extras from the first issue, including a commentary track with Michael Powell and Martin Scorsese, and a 25-minute documentary called "Painting with Light," focusing on the work of cinematographer Jack Cardiff. The new extras, some incorporated from recent international DVD releases, include a warm 9-minute introduction by filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (accompanied by various production stills); an 18-minute featurette called "The Audacious Adventurer," again with Tavernier as guide through the film; and "Profile of Black Narcissus," a 25-minute behind-the-scenes piece that includes comments from Cardiff, actress Kathleen Byron, and critic Ian Christie. All of these are affectionate and useful, if somewhat repetitive taken together. The most important reason for the Criterion reissue is improved technical quality for the film itself, as the previous release was deemed problematic compared to other international versions. Those improvements having been made, this version can only be called a wow. --Robert Horton
Remains gorgeously scary since it's release. A disturbingly beautiful classic.Published 1 month ago by aron green, m.d.
This film is an all time classic; certainly way ahead of it's time. The transfer from the Technicolor print was excellent. Read morePublished 2 months ago by eyebyx
One of Deborah Kerr's best performances. A compelling and mesmerizing film.Published 3 months ago by Candace York
Although this is a very famous film, it reveals too much of its plot during the opening scenes of the film. This is definitely a woman's picture, but way,way too predictable.Published 4 months ago by Bill M
I looked up the movie and found that it was based on a 1939 novel of the same name and largely followed it. I cannot comment on the novel, but the movie never quite works. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Long Tom
This movie has a quality not unlike Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast which is far more of a fairytale but in essence my point being is this film had a lock of inspiration from... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tony
I saw this last week at a film class. Loved it. Had to own it. Beautiful technicolor, restored to its former glory.Published 4 months ago by Lonas Taylor
What was a school for children doing at 9000 feet altitude? Did they sleep there? Go up and down every day? Why were the hero's legs so bare when everyone else was clothed? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ellen
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If what you say is true, then next time you may want to consider not taking NINE YEARS to clarify what you mean about the movie "missing" a specific scene.
Aug 12, 2010 by brian0918 | See all 2 posts
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My God!! Don't you know your cinema history at all? Sit in a dark room and repeat over and over to yourself. There were no modern widescreen movies before 1953, there were no modern widescreen movies before 1953 ... Also, check out this website:
Apr 27, 2008 by Terry Carroll | See all 6 posts
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