Posted 23 January 2007 - 01:36 PM
I can't recall if this one has been batted around for the A&F 100, but it certainly is an important 20th century depiction of Christianity, even if that is a by-product of Powell's intentions.
Posted 23 January 2007 - 02:31 PM
I understand Scorcese is a fan of the film.
However, I do not see the connection between this and that infamous scene you referred to in _Last Temptation_. I know some people on this board liked the film, but I'm one of its detractors, and that scene in particular. There's not an ounce of reality in that scene, whatever Scorcese says.
Posted 23 January 2007 - 02:47 PM
As far as Last Temptation... is concerned, I don't think Scorsese considers himself to be accurately portraying some point of history in this scene any more than Kazantzakis thought he was writing a book about the historical Jesus. I wasn't even aware that people questioned this. But that is a tangent for a different thread that we must have around here somewhere...
Edited by MLeary, 23 January 2007 - 02:48 PM.
Posted 23 January 2007 - 03:14 PM
I can respect that, but the film is also ambiguous enough to show passion and spirituality as contrasts as well. In particular, the climactic sequence
When that scene came on, I couldn't help but wonder: why? If I was a zealous believer who wished to go to John for a baptism, what would be the theological reasons why I should disrobe and jump up and down in unison, screeching at the top of my lungs? If I wanted to start a religious cult, why would I want people to do exactly that? Suppose I caught a co-worker at one of these "baptisms"--what would I say to him on Monday morning? (Hey Phil... caught ya at the Baptist's rally). I mean... it truly took me out of the story.
I think the discussion of the comparisons between eroticism and spirituality is a fascinating one, which has been linked together with Song of Solomon, and has been explored from artists as diverse as Powell and Pressburger, to Prince. The difference is, with Scorcese, he and Kazantzakis created a jarring scene out of thin air, not rooted in any reality of religious revival meeting that I have heard of, or rooting it in the reality of, say, a quasi-religious-sex cult, like David Koresh or "Children of God" movements in the 70s. I'd rather listen to Prince's _Lovesexy_ album.
Posted 17 September 2007 - 02:49 PM
Turner Classic Movies has tapped into a trove of British quota quickies, which they’ll be airing from 8pm Eastern to 6am Monday, Sept. 17, and continuing on Monday, Sept. 24 on roughly the same schedule. This Monday’s line up includes two Michael Powell films, “Something Always Happens” (1934) and “Crown vs. Stevens” (1936) I don’t believe have been broadcast before, as well as Walter Forde’s “The Peterville Diamond,” a promising title from the director of the highly enjoyable “The Ghost Train” (1941). There’s bound to be some other interesting stuff bundled in here.
Two comments to the post so far, one of which states: "TCM claims none has ever been shown in the US before (at least publicly)."
Descriptions of the two Powell films are also posted in the comments:
8:00 PM Something Always Happens (1934)
When a gasoline company president rejects his marketing proposal, an unemployed man joins the competition. Cast: Ian Hunter, Nancy O’Neil, John Singer. Dir: Michael Powell. C-69 mins, TV-G
9:15 PM Crown vs. Stevens (1936)
An ex-dancer marries a rich man hoping to pay off a loan shark. Cast: Beatrix Thomson, Patric Knowles, Googie Withers. Dir: Michael Powell. C-66 mins, TV-G
Edited by Christian, 17 September 2007 - 02:50 PM.
Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:52 AM
I don't much care about blu-ray, but I may have to rethink that. Powell/Pressburger movies may be the most beautiful films I've ever seen. It's exciting to think of how pristine they might look in blu-ray. I'd just have to get an HDTV set. And a new player. And then the DVDs.
Posted 04 July 2009 - 02:06 PM
Oh that is sad, and deserves a thread of its own.
I didn't launch a separate thread, but I did blog -- much too briefly -- about a Red Shoes viewing inspired, in part, by Cardiff's death.
Posted 04 July 2009 - 02:40 PM
Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:21 PM
That said, I'll say BLACK NARCISSUS has the outright creepiest madwoman I've ever seen committed to film. That terrible smile... :::shudders:::
Edited by Ryan H., 04 March 2011 - 10:09 PM.
Posted 04 March 2011 - 09:44 PM
From reading Ryan's note, I think I liked it a good deal better than he.
Posted 05 March 2011 - 01:30 PM
- The entire film was shot in England, on soundstages or back lots. Impressive filmmaking, but mostly per Powell's recollection that they could have filmed either on location or at the studio, but they just wanted to try out the studio to see if they could pull it off.
- The final scene was filmed to the musical score, not the other way around. They played piano tracks during the shoot so that Kerr and the others would know exactly how long they could walk from one cue to the next.
- Big time Disney influences on the film--see the angles at the bell, and the vividness of the colors.
- Scorcese and Powell were really into the eroticism of the film, particularly the decorations peering/leering over the nuns.
Some really iconic and beautiful shots in the film, too, none more so than the high dolly shot overlooking the bell at the cliff's edge. Good flick.
Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:38 AM
McCallâ€™s film is wonderfully generous with its extracts, never more so than with Black Narcissus. This is a tricky film to judge now, in part because I donâ€™t think Powell or his regular writer-producer, Emeric Pressburger, were very much interested in religion. And this is a story about a community of nuns in Tibet!
The crew was excited by the idea, especially if it meant getting away from England and going to the Himalayas. Oh, no, said Powell, weâ€™ll do it all in the studio. What obsessed him far more than religion was the challenge to build sets, to paint on glass for perspectives, and to use color in a way that made the viewer believe the production had gone to Tibet. It was artifice that moved him; plus the notion of wondering about the sexual dreams of nuns, shrouded in ivoryâ€”yet eager to use crimson lipstick. With Alfred Junge as its production designer and Jack as cinematographer, Black Narcissus is one of the most ravishing films ever made (Cardiff won the Oscar for color photography). There are moments when the viewer is bound to ask, well, isnâ€™t this just beauty or cinema for its own sake? But there must be young generations who have never experienced this use of color, movement, and melodrama. For a simple reasonâ€”a little more than ten years after Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, the world abandoned Technicolor for cooler processes, cheaper and supposedly truer to life. As if Powell and company hadnâ€™t always preferred the imagination.