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Black Narcissus (The Criterion Collection)

The Criterion Collection

DVD

4.4 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Additional Features

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


Special features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Video introduction by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
  • Audio commentary featuring the late director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • The Audacious Adventurer, a 2006 video piece in which Tavernier discusses Black Narcissus and Powell
  • Profile of “Black Narcissus” (2000), a twenty-five-minute documentary
  • Painting with Light, a twenty-seven-minute documentary about Jack Cardiff’s Oscar-winning cinematography on Black Narcissus
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kent Jones

  • Product details

    • Actors: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, Sabu
    • Directors: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Unrated
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010
    • Run Time: 100 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews
    • ASIN: B003ICZW7I
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,074 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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    • Learn more about "Black Narcissus (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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