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This review is from: Black Narcissus [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
I recall an interview with Deborah Kerr shortly before she died when the interviewer put to her that Black Narcissus was "an erotic film". "Do you think so?", she said. "Good!"
When viewed on the small screen this film does certainly appear to be as visually stunning as "A Matter of Life and Death" and "I Know Where I Am Going" but it also has that ubiquitous little bit of Powell and Pressburger trickery. The Himalayan backdrop is a film set, they never left England to film it! And it won two Oscars for Cinamatography and Art Direction!
The cast includes Flora Robson and Jean Simmons as well as Deborah Kerr but the film is stolen by Kathleen Byron as Sister Ruth. Her descent into madness is chilling and culminates with the bell tower scene, near the end of the film.
What makes this film great is not what is said by the cast but what is not said. The camera lingers just enough on the tortured face of Sister Ruth to let you know that even the most beautiful rose will come with thorns.