Monday, September 30, 2013

Vow Vow Voom!

By some odd stroke of fate, British actress (and later Hollywood star) Deborah Kerr and British film director (who never made it to Hollywood but should have) Michael Powell both share a birthday. She was born on this day in 1921, and he a bit earlier in 1905. They made several movies together, the most famous of which is Black Narcissus, (co-directed--as was often the case--by Emeric Pressburger), all about a convent high in the Himalayan hills where a group of repressed nuns wage a mighty struggle with their own pent-up desires. And what is it exactly that the pent-up sisters desire?


You have to understand, this was shot in 1947. The British censors back then were just as efficient at pent-upping the desires of filmmakers as their American counterparts. Besides, ever see a nun put on lipstick? She might as well be doing a striptease.

OK, she was actually resigning from the nunhood, but Sister Kerr is nevertheless appalled.

Here's the trailer:

Here's a more scholarly take focusing on a subplot involving British (despite the tan) film actress (and later Hollywood star) Jean Simmons, and Indian film actor (but British and Hollywood star) Sabu:

If you didn't have the seven minutes to spare, what the professor or whoever was talking basically said was that back when this film was made, the West viewed the East as a land of sinful sensuality. How times change. Nowadays, the East views the West that way!

SPOILER ALERT: The final clip I want to show you is the film's climax. If you really want to see this movie sometimes, and I obviously recommend that you do or else I'd be wasting my time on something else, I suggest you skip this and go see if it's available on Netflix, which I'm sure it is.

That said, here's the aforementioned Deborah Kerr (the one in the habit) and British actress (and never quite a Hollywood star, but, Jesus Christ, she should have been) Kathleen Byron in a scene that's a literal cliffhanger:

That, folks, is what's known as a Hail Mary pass.


  1. Not available to stream but yes if you order the DVD ...

  2. No streaming? Really? I actually think you can see the whole thing on YouTube as long as you don't mind it somewhat fragmented.

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