Plagued by uncertainties and worldly desires, five Protestant missionary nuns, led by Deborah Kerr’s Sister Clodagh, struggle to establish a school in the desolate Himalayas. All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger’s fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh, set against the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga. —The Criterion Collection
A one time studio gofer, still photographer, and comic actor, Michael Powell became one of the most celebrated and controversial directors ever to come out of England. Born in Canterbury, Powell became enamored of films while still a teenager and, after a start in the mid-’20s and a stint shooting stills and serving as a co-scenarist with Alfred Hitchcock in the early sound era, Powell broke into directing in low-budget British thrillers and comedies. After directing and writing his first notable movie in 1937, The Edge of the World, he moved to London Films where he began working with Emeric Pressburger, a gifted young author and screenwriter. Their two-decade association began shortly after they left London Films (where they collaborated on The Spy in Black and Powell co-directed The Thief of Bagdad). The wartime thrillers Contraband and Forty-Ninth Parallel, the latter attracted much attention (including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and best original story), resulted in the… read more
The screenwriter half of the Powell/Pressburger team in association with Michael Powell, Hungarian-born Emeric Pressburger was a journalist before coming to films as a screenwriter in the late ‘20s. After working at Germany’s UFA studios for several years, he fled after Hitler’s rise to power and eventually came to England, where he joined London Films as a screenwriter and began his association with Michael Powell, a gifted young English filmmaker. The two worked together on The Spy in Black, and after leaving London Films, formed a filmmaking partnership, known corporately as The Archers, in which they shared joint screenwriter-producer-director credit. Their collaborations together included 49th Parallel, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going, Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death), Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, The Small Back Room, and The Tales of Hoffmann, most of which were extremely successful… read more
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2012 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.
Gray is at BAMcinématek tonight. And Offscreen focuses on Fellini and Powell and Pressburger.
Dave Kehr in the New York Times on the fifth volume of Warner's Film Noir Classic Collection and the second volume of Sony's Columbia
Sheila Johnston at the Arts Desk: "The last time Jack Cardiff went to Cannes, nobody recognised him; wearing his trademark
"Jean Simmons, a radiant British actress who as a teenager appeared opposite Laurence Olivier in Hamlet and emerged a star whose career flourished
Another cumulous of the talent of filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and cinematographer Jack Cardiff.
The arrival into the imponent temple on the mountain arouses various kinds… read review
When you think of a movie about a handful of nuns moving to a rural village in the Himalayas, you would never imagine the intense masterpiece that Black Narcissus is. The Film is visually stunning… read review