Black Narcissus

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Black Narcissus is a 1947 film by the British director-writer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, based on the novel of the same name by Rumer Godden. It is a psychological drama about the emotional tensions within a convent of nuns in an isolated Himalayan valley, and stars Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar and Flora Robson, and features Esmond Knight, Jean Simmons and Kathleen Byron.

Contents

Plot

A group of Anglican nuns travels to a remote location in the Himalayas (the Palace of Mopu, near Darjeeling) to set up a school and hospital and 'tame' the local people and environment, by conversion and gardening, only to find themselves increasingly seduced by the sensuality of their surroundings in a converted seraglio, and by the local British agent Dean (David Farrar). Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), the Sister in charge, is attempting to forget a failed romance at home in Ireland. Tensions mount as Dean's laid-back charm makes an impression on Clodagh, but also attracts the mentally unstable Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron), who becomes pathologically jealous of Clodagh, resulting in a nervous breakdown and a violent climax. In a subplot, 'the Young General' (Sabu), heir to the throne of a princely Indian state who has come to the convent for his education, becomes infatuated with a lower caste dancing girl (Jean Simmons).

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