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Extra info for Black Narcissus: Turner Classic Movies British Film Guide
In this second appearance of the horns we hear them at the same time as the sound of the ringing bell – two sounds, and ways of living – momentarily co-existing in and around Mopu. Perhaps they are in competition: the strident horns indicating Eastern tradition and permanence and the bell that regulates the Sisters’ activities in the same way as it would had they been in their ‘home ’ convent in England. This opening is therefore important in creating a sense of permanence, presented in an assertive and dominating manner: the place, its sounds and traditions are signalled as being inviolable.
Easdale went on to work as musical director on many of The Archers’ subsequent ﬁlms, including The Red Shoes, for which he won an Academy Award. The shots, editing, creation of tone and mood are therefore holistic, a technique Powell experimented with further in The Red Shoes and The Tales of Hoﬀmann (1951). CASTING Mary Morris has already been mentioned as the actress who introduced Powell to the novel of Black Narcissus but who was never cast in her desired role of Sister Ruth. 61 He objected to Byron’s insistence that Ruth was not insane but ‘just a bit intense’.
7 It is ironic that this centrality of place was achievable because of Powell’s decision not to shoot the ﬁlm in India: the ‘East’ that was compelling, beguiling and seductive was in fact the creation of Western imagination. The principle of centrality is none the less a key element of the ﬁlm’s realisation of Godden’s vision. A sense of complexity surrounding Mopu is also communicated by the wind that blows through the palace because of its high position. As Godden described in the novel: To step into the house was to step into stillness, into warmth even when it was damp and unlit; but after a moment a coldness crept about your shins.