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Black Narcissus [Criterion Collection] [Blu-ray] [English] [1947]

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Special Features

  • Video Introduction by Filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
  • Audio Commentary featuring Powell and Director Martin Scorsese
  • The Audacious Adventurer, a Video Piece in which Tavernier discusses the film and Powell
  • Profile of "Black Narcissus," a Documentary featuring members of the Archers' Production Team
  • Painting with Light, a Documentary on Cardiff's Oscar-winning work in Black Narcissus
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Plus: a Booklet featuring an Essay by critic Kent Jones


Black Narcissus
British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger once again deliberately courted controversy and censorship with their 1947 adaptation of Rumer Godden's novel. Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron play the head nuns at an Anglican hospital/school high in the Himalayas. The nuns' well-ordered existence is disturbed by the presence of a handsome British government agent (David Farrar), whose attractiveness gives certain sisters the wrong ideas. Meanwhile, an Indian girl (Jean Simmons) is lured down the road to perdition by a sensuous general (Sabu). While Kerr would seem most susceptible to fall from grace --we are given hints of her earlier love life in a long flashback--she proves to have more stamina than Byron, who delivers one of moviedom's classic interpretations of all-stops-out, sex-starved insanity. The aforementioned flashback was removed from the US release version of Black Narcissus so as not to offend the Catholic Legion of Decency. While the dramatic content of the film hasn't stood the test of time all that well, the individual performances, production values, and especially the Oscar-winning Technicolor photography of Jack Cardiff are still as impressive as ever. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Deborah Kerr
    Deborah Kerr - Sister Clodagh
  • David Farrar
    David Farrar - Mr. Dean
  • Kathleen Byron
    Kathleen Byron - Sister Ruth
  • Esmond Knight
    Esmond Knight - Old General
  • Flora Robson
    Flora Robson - Sister Philippa
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.