Black Narcissus

This explosive work about the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is the epitome of the sensuous style of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. A group of nuns—played by some of Britain’s finest actresses, including Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron, and Flora Robson—struggle to establish a convent in the Himalayas, while isolation, extreme weather, altitude, and culture clashes all conspire to drive the well-intentioned missionaries mad. A darkly grand film that won Oscars for Alfred Junge's art direction and Jack Cardiff's cinematography , Black Narcissus is one of the greatest achievements by two of cinema’s true visionaries.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, created with the participation of cinematographer Jack Cardiff and director Michael Powell’s widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • 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 on Black Narcissus
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones
    New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, created with the participation of cinematographer Jack Cardiff and director Michael Powell’s widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • 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 on Black Narcissus
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones
    New cover by F. Ron Miller
Black Narcissus
Cast
Deborah Kerr
Sister Clodagh
Sabu
The Young General
David Farrar
Mr. Dean
Flora Robson
Sister Philippa
Esmond Knight
The Old General
Jean Simmons
Kanchi
Kathleen Byron
Sister Ruth
Jenny Laird
Sister Honey
Judith Furse
Sister Briony
May Hallatt
Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley, Jr.
Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble
Con
Nancy Roberts
Mother Dorothea
Credits
Director
Michael Powell
Director
Emeric Pressburger
Written, produced, and directed by
Michael Powell
Written, produced, and directed by
Emeric Pressburger
Adapted from the novel by
Rumer Godden
Photographed in Technicolor by
Jack Cardiff
Music and sound score composed and conducted by
Brian Easdale
Editing
Reginald Mills
Costumes
Hein Heckroth
Production design
Alfred Junge

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Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Writer, Producer, Director

Though The Red Shoes is possibly the most popular and visually entrancing dance film of all time, the producing, directing, and writing team of the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Emeric Pressburger created numerous other odes to the power of art and the imagination, always going against the realist strain of British cinema. Known by the name of their production company, the Archers, Powell and Pressburger forged a working alliance that lasted from the late thirties to the early seventies, and from the anti-Nazi propaganda of 49th Parallel and the astoundingly designed and edited epic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the erotic, magical excesses of A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going!, Black Narcissus, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The duo were never as successful on their own as with each other, though Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom remains one of the most subversive and disturbing films ever made.