Last night I was in the mood to watch something with Deborah Kerr so I watched Black Narcissus. Every time I see that movie, the world in Pinewood Studios' faux Himalayas seems more rich. It's sort of perfect that the environment is artificially created. As Mr. Dean says, it's a land where everything seems "exaggerated". Brilliant Technicolor photography by Jack Cardiff, beautiful red and blue flowers filling the screen take on a sinister quality as it underscores the tide of organic sensuality overwhelming the comparatively feeble dedication of the nuns.
Sister Ruth's madness is the ultimate expression of this--and Kathleen Byron's is truly the film's most interesting performance--but the horror of Ruth stalking Clodagh at the end of the film is sharpened by the sense that Clodagh and the other nuns are themselves drowning in the same pool.