Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

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Black Narcissus

Posted by martinteller on March 12, 2007

I tried watching this a few years ago, found it “boring” and shut it off.  I had a much easier go of it this time around.  It’s the kind of film you have to give yourself up to and just let yourself become absorbed in it naturally.  Certainly my favorite aspect is the cinematography: Jack Cardiff + Technicolor always adds up to magic.  But Powell & Pressburger also deserve credit for the way tension gradually builds, and the way the film is about so many things without seeming to be really ABOUT anything.  The plot, such as it is, surely would be boring to someone expecting a certain kind of story, but there’s actually quite a bit going on in terms of mood and character and setting.  And the climax is a suspenseful sequence of events straight out of Hitchcock (perhaps an unfair comparison, as it was done before Hitchcock was Hitchcock).  The appearance of Sister Ruth on the bell tower is unforgettable.  Rating: 8


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