"'Black Narcissus", now heralded as a masterpiece, is a landmark film in the influential canon of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. With the centenary of Powell's birth in 2005 this timely book - the first dedicated exclusively to the film - draws on archival documents, original set drawings and stills to demonstrate its remarkable achievements, both as a production and as a vehicle for ideas. Looking at the film's enduring images of both place and gender, Sarah Street also examines "Black Narcissus" as a masterly technical accomplishment - with cinematographer Jack Cardiff's experiments in Technicolor just one of its many advances - as well as a meditation on the end of empire. Looking too at the film's controversial reception by international critics and censors, and its subsequent impact on experimental filmmakers, Street explores issues of technique, style, performance and interpretation to reveal the continued relevance of "Black Narcissus" today.
Sarah Street is Professor of Film at the University of Bristol. Her numerous publications include 'British National Cinema', 'Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA' and, as co-editor, 'The Titanic in Myth and Memory: Representations in Visual and Literary Culture' (I.B. Tauris).