Blu-ray reissue: Black Narcissus ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on September 4, 2010)

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Black Narcissus – The Criterion Collection Blu-ray

From a strictly narrative standpoint, The Archers (co-directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger) certainly  made more coherent films during their illustrious career; but in purely visual terms, few as artfully directed, beautifully composed and gorgeously shot as this 1947 melodrama. While the histrionic performances and the torrid story line (concerning sexual panic among British nuns in an isolated Himalayan convent) may not have dated so well, the stunning photography by DP Jack Cardiff and art direction from Alfred Junge was made to order for the hi-def format (both scored Oscars for their work). Criterion does their usual voodoo with the picture transfer and the extras, which include an interesting commentary track featuring Powell and admirer Martin Scorsese.

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