Friday, July 27, 2012


I have only watched one movie this week and it is still haunting me several days later.
"Black Narcissus" (1947) is probably not familiar to most people but it is so
worth having a look at. I first saw this film in my early twenties and have watched it a few
times since then. It may well take the prize for being the most visually beautiful film I
have ever seen.(The only other one that springs to mind instantly is "Days of Heaven", made in 1978,
but that's a rave for another day)
Almost every frame of "Black Narcissus" is breathtakingly beautiful. I watched it
once for the movie as a whole and then a second time minus sound to obtain screen caps. Dare I
say, I appreciated it more without the distraction of the sometimes overpowering music and
occasional over-the-top acting performances by some of the cast.  Admittedly it can be quite
melodramatic at times, however its beauty outweighs its flaws.
It's about a group of nuns who are sent to the Himalayas to establish a school and a
hospital for the local people.
The altitude (8,000 feet), constant howling gales and lush surroundings have an unfortunate
effect on the nuns. This ranges from daydreaming instead of attending to duties, unholy
reminiscing about the past, borderline hysteria and, in one case, stark raving madness, which leads to tragic consequences.
Deborah Kerr is perfect as the Sister Superior, Sister Clodagh. David Farrar is downright
gorgeous as the very attractive devil-may-care government official Mr Dean who walks around
the entire time in very short shorts and his shirt unbuttoned almost to his waist much to
the distraction of the mentally unstable Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron). Jean Simmons is the
sensual native girl taken in by the nuns, who leads astray the narcissistic young Prince
(Sabu) who is being educated at the nun's school.
The colour and lighting techniques used in this movie are just incredible. It's  difficult to
exercise restraint with the number of screen caps I put here, but I'll try.
The serene Sister Clodagh

Eye candy Mr Dean

The less-than-serene Sister Ruth

Trouble-making native girl Kanchi

A selection of gorgeous images.....

Clearly, I have no restraint. Oh well.
This movie is a little bit dated now but is still a stunning example of film making.
Another entry to the "yes I will watch this again" pile.


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