Black Narcissus part 2.

Tahli loves nuns. Ever since she was a kid. Her favorite t.v. show growing up in australia was something called Brides Of Christ with young versions of Naomi Watts and Russel Crowe. Personally, they make me a bit scared. We got a copy of Black Narcissus and it sat on the shelf for at least year, while I reluctantly eyed it every couple days knowing it was by the same people who made A Matter Of Life And Death (my favorite movie) and Peeping Tom, another great movie, but I dont know, it just looked boring and tedious. Nuns? Ugh.
We eventually did watch it and then we watched it again and then again. There is alot of truly remarkable things about this movie that stay with me-the awesome sets and cinematography, the color, the guru on the hill, kathleen byron's unhinged, heartbreaking portrayl of Ruth, etc etc , I mean ALOT in this thing is super superb. but possibly the one thing that makes Black Narcissus so distinct to me is probably David Farrar as Mr. Dean.
He reminds me of someone who I could have met at a sephardi synagogue in Australia. A weird dude who travelled and lived all over and just ended up somewhere. He has a strange blend of anglo saxon and middle eastern looks-white skin, prominent nose, sorta leathery skin. I dont know, I just feel like I know him or something and watching him is to watch someone truly at ease with themselves. There's a casualness to his presence, the way he sits on his donkey, or slyly toys with the head nun, that just breathes this air of cool. And the guy is wearing goofy shorts the whole time dont forget. Michael Powell, in his commentary, mentions that Farrar was not a career driven man. He could take or leave the film industry, and that he could have been a huge star if he had the desire. Watching him in BN, it's an opinion hard to disagree with. I sorta wish he played James Bond just once. or was the doctor in A Matter Of Life And Death. Or was in Lawrence of Arabia covered in makeup playing an arab. Whatever. Who cares. Anything would do.
Looking at the rest of his films on IMDB, I have seen none on the list or even heard of them. Who knows if they're any good. I am gonna try to search some out and I figure that, at the very worst the films might be horrible, but I am certain it'll still be cool seeing Mr. Dean in some new setting. the only other guy who comes to mind like that is good ol' Raymond Massey. if he's in it, I am sold.
so yeah, I'll let you know what Farrar movies rule. Hopefully they'll be a couple.

posted by sammy at 5:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also love this movie!

8:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this super still! I'd never seen it before now.

I'm a big fan of Black Narcissus and have posted 6 minutes of it here:

10:06 PM  

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