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Black Narcissus [1946] [DVD] [1998]


Price: £6.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
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Black Narcissus [1946] [DVD] [1998] + The Red Shoes [DVD] (Special Edition) + A Matter Of Life And Death [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, David Farrar, Sabu
  • Format: PAL, Mono, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sept. 2005
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AGK112
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,753 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A classic Powell/Pressburger tale of sexual awakening based on the Rumer Godden novel. A group of British nuns are sent into the Himalayas to set up a mission in what was once the harem's quarters of an ancient palace. The clear mountain air, the unfamiliar culture and the unbridled sensuality of a young prince (Sabu) and his beggar-girl lover (Jean Simmons) begin to play havoc with the nuns' long-suppressed emotions. Whilst the young Mother Superior, Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), fights a losing battle for order, the jaunty David Farrar falls in love with her, sparking uncontrollable jealousy in another nun, Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron).

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1947 masterpiece Black Narcissus was probably the most revolutionary, innovative and daring film of the period (certainly of British films) and still stands up well today. When the Archers (the name under which P&P made their films) raised the proposed subject matter of the film (a group of nuns, sexual repression, murder, etc) with Arthur Rank, who had his hands on the purse strings at the time, he was understandably nervous, but largely due to Powell's characteristic determination, thankfully the film got made.

Black Narcissus' story centres on a group of Anglican nuns, led by Sister Superior Clodagh (superbly played by Deborah Kerr), who are sent to a remote part of the Himalayas to establish a school and hospital for the benefit of the local population. Their objectives are undermined by a combination of factors, including the reluctance of the local British agent Mr Dean (David Farrar) to support them and the increasingly eccentric behaviour from the mentally unstable Sister Ruth (played by Kathleen Byron, in a film-stealing performance).

Black Narcissus was way ahead of its time in many elements. The most notable is undoubtedly the way in which the film creates a brooding, and increasing, atmosphere of sexual tension between the three main characters, Sisters Clodagh and Ruth and Mr Dean, as the latter parades through the nuns' living quarters (ironically a converted harem!) in shorts and bare, hairy legs. Visually, the film is also uniquely stunning.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Powell and Pressburger in the 40's were a sure fire guarantee of cinema that was imaginative, innovative and involving - and this was one of the pinnacles of their career.
On the surface another British melodrama, this was made into much more, using the relatively new and cumbersome Technicolor process for heretofore unimagined uses. While America was using colour as a way of making musicals and location work bigger and more exciting, Powell and Pressburger were finding ways of using it as a way of expressing the internal - emotions as colour.
In this movie, we have Deborah Kerr as a nun who has been sent as Mother Superior to a palace (and former harem) in India in the shadow of the Himalayas to make of it a school and dispensary. However the location and its otherworldliness begin to gnaw at the nuns in different ways, digging up old forgotten memories of their previous lives, and forcing one all the way to madness. The presence of the Englishman who is their only source of help, only adds to a simmering atmosphere of repressed emotion which threatens to burst out as time progresses.
As a melodrama this might seem a little dated by modern viewers eyes, however as an expression of the dichotomy between our human nature and the nature of religion (in this case Christianity) this is a fascinating and timeless piece - and as a piece of cinema, this will stay with you for a very long time, with its stunning expressionist style and startling colours. One moment, when a nun driven mad appears in a doorway with murderous thoughts in mind, is more chilling than anything I have seen in a long time, all captured in one look through fantastic lighting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By June R from Oz on 13 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember this movie from when I was a child and I have had a video for several years which has now lost a lot of quality. Since buying this DVD I am enjoying it once again. I still find it hard to believe that it was made on a studio backlot. It stands up to a lot of scrutiny and is amazingly well made considering especially that it was made over sixty years ago. It stills seems exotic and moving and the actors are really good. It may seem a little dated and the sexual feelings are implied and not blatently obvious as in so many movies today. The colour is beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone who has read Rumer Godden's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pgm3 on 19 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Jack Cardiff's best cinematography and as such on any arbitrarily short list of the greatest films ever made. The climatic scene, not to give it away, has influenced every fashion magazine and pop-music video since 1980. Astonishing, considering this was created before the 20th Century was half-over! A modernist, definitive work which will burn images into your occipital lobe and leave them there long after you've forgotten the subplots of the latest summer blockbuster. Hard to believe that is a story about a failing attempt by some Anglican nuns to build a missionary elementary school. It's soooooo much more than that, the tension is Hitchcokian, downright scary, the characters Muriel-Spark-depth and the visuals are breathtaking. You could lift any freeze-frame from this film, print it, and hang it proudly on your living room wall. Any frame. How many films can claim that? The sort of artistic triumph that makes you proud to be a human being, at the same time leaving you to question just what the hell that means.
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