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Black Narcissus

From Academic Kids

This is an article about a film by Powell & Pressburger. For the flower, see Narcissi.


Black Narcissus (1947) is a film by the British director-writer team of Powell & Pressburger, based on the novel by Rumer Godden. The film was made mainly at Pinewood Studios with some scenes shot in Leonardslee Gardens, West Sussex. They never went to India, all those mountains were created in the studio. That's why they won 2 Oscars.

A group of Anglican nuns travel to a remote location in the Himalayas to set up a school and hospital, only to find themselves increasingly distracted by the sensuality of their surroundings in a converted seraglio. The Sister in charge (played by Deborah Kerr) is attempting to forget a failed romance at home in Ireland and tensions mount when she has to deal with two men - one the local British agent (David Farrar) and the other the young heir to the throne of the princely state (Sabu) who uses the scent 'Black Narcissus' imported from England. The story builds to a dramatic climax.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and for Art Direction. During this time, Powell and Pressburger and their collaborators were responsible for some of the best Technicolor films ever made - often by ignoring the rather restrictive advice of the Technicolor company. (See also The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes and others listed below.)

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