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NEW Black Narcissus - Black Narcissus (blu-ray) (Blu-ray)


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Editorial Reviews

UK Import Blu-Ray/Region All pressing. Based on a novel by Rumer Godden, Black Narcissus stars Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons as nuns dedicated to the Indian mission in which they work. Obstacles in the life of a nun s community high in the Himalayas range from a cynical British Agent to suspicious natives, and the arduous terrain surrounding them. The mission prospers, but often at the expense of spiritual progress. A sick child dies, a mission pupil elopes and one of the nuns falls to her death after an emotional breakdown. The sisters finally retreat from the mission and the menacing mountains, but with the knowledge that their work has not been devoid of good results. DVD special features: A profile of Black Narcissus, Original theatrical trailer.

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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015YY75E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Underwood VINE VOICE on October 15, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This stunning and atmospheric film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who were the team behind Archer Productions, is an engrossing and moody masterpiece one might term, religious noir. It was shot in lush colors by Jack Cardiff with a score by Brian Easdale performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. It is the story and the atmosphere created by Powell and Pressburger that gives this adaptation of a novel by Rumer Gooden its noirish feel, however, and it would easily be just as good in black and white.

Deborah Kerr is Sister Clodagh, fullfilling her duties at the Servants of Mary in Calcutta. She is assigned to helm St. Faith, high in the Himalayas, and is given the charge of Mother Superior in order to do so. She will be the youngest ever to hold such a position, and it is one her Mother Superior believes she is not ready for. Once she reaches the lonely place over nine thousand feet from the earth, with her small group of Sisters, she will discover that while they may be in closer proximity to the heavens, they will be much further from God.

The isolation, the drums, and the wind, will have an effect on each of the Sisters, including Sister Clodagh. She is strict and demanding, but becomes concious of the danger here when she herself begins to drift and dream of her past in Ireland before joining the Servants of Mary. Kerr has a graceful Irish beauty that is almost stunning in these flashback scenes. She was young and happy, and in love. She was from a small area and did not want to be shamed when the one she had given her love to decided to move on without her. Her decision was born out of her desire to avoid humiliation.
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By brian0918 on September 21, 2005
Format: DVD
I am not sure why the poster believes the film is missing a scene. I have the Criterion edition, and I have just watched the scene. It starts about 43 minutes into the film, and it involves the beggar girl looking at wall art, dancing, and trying to seduce the young General. In the commentary, Michael Powell says, in reference to the girl's dance: "When Larry Olivier saw this... he couldn't believe it. His Ophelia [from 'Hamlet' in 1948] changed into this..." I've posted snapshots from the film of this scene in the Criterion version.

There is one minor error in the Criterion and previous versions of the film that have been released. When Sister Ruth sees red and passes out, the screen goes to blue instead of black. This is most likely the result of some electronic sampler that thought "black" meant "no signal", and as VCRs will do, switched the screen to blue.

This film is excellent and Jack Cardiff was a genius. It rightly won the Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in 1947.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Bil Antoniou on October 17, 2000
Format: DVD
One of the best British films ever made is this pioneering effort by independent filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Shot entirely in Scotland with painted matte backgrounds to recreate the Himalayas (and astonishingly well at that), the film is superbly textured and mature, thematically ahead of any movie made in its period. Deborah Kerr heads a superb group of performers as the Mother Superior of a group of nuns who move to a convent in a remote mountain village in India, only to find that their confidence and strength in their religion is no match for the mystic powers of the East. Sexual frustration over local white man David Farrar, weakening faith, harsh climate and the growing fondness for their homeland soon get to the women and they are forced to leave or die. Interestingly enough, Kerr's flashback scenes of her Scottish youth and teenage sweetheart were cut by American censors upon first release, even though they were completely without sexual content, explicit or implicit; it seems it was too taboo to show a nun who has taken her vows to escape a failed love affair (the scenes have since been restored and are now available on home video). Funny, the nun who throws herself off a mountain because she goes bug-eyed every time she sees Farrar in his shorts didn't even make the Prude Alert blink.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "fireballxl5" on March 30, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
From the same team that gave us THE RED SHOES this film is a must see for those who appreciate a great story fleshed out by terrific performances in lush settings with phenomenal art direction. Made over fifty years ago BLACK NARCISSUS could be considered significantly ahead of its time in its unique use of narration, and subject. (Hint: What happens when a group of British nuns is sent from their cloistered priory to establish an infirmary/school in a palace formerly inhabited by a sultan's harem located high in the Himalayas? Watch and find out.) Atmospheric and hypnotic (shot in truly glorious technicolor), this is a movie you'll want to watch many times. Definitely one of a kind. Deborah Kerr is outstanding as Head Sister Clodagh. (With Sabu and a very young Jean Simmons in supporting roles.)
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Paulo Leite on January 3, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Black Narcissus stands as a peak film in the career of Michael Powell and Emerich Pressburger. A flawless script centered on the personal experiences of a group of nuns that live in the Himalayas. The beauty of the place, the beauty of Nature all soon start to have a strange effect on those women. This is a movie about the conflicts between spirit and flesh. And what a film!
On top of it we have a impecable cast and what I believe to be the best cinematography work I have ever experienced - courtesy of the great Mr. Jack Cardiff. The cinematography IS BREATHTAKING. As breathtaking as nothing I have ever seen on the technicolor days.
I disagree with one reviewer who complained that Criterion Collection failed to bring us this film just because the aspect ratio was 1.33:1 (instead of a widescreen version). I strongly disagree with that idea and I must recall that Black Narcissus was made in 1947. At that time films had the 1.33:1 ratio. Widescreen only came up in the early 50's. It happeened that later on, some films had a fake-widescreen effect just for re-release purposes. Black Narcissus was filmed using a technicolor process involving 3 negatives and its correct aspect ratio was 1.33:1.
Criterion's edition of Black Narcissus is a gem. A great buy. You will never see anything like this again!
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