A group of nuns open a makeshift convent in the foothills of the Himalayas, but soon find their vows challenged in this new, exotic environment. Deborah Kerr’s Sister Clodagh has a spiritual crisis, while a fellow nun, brilliantly played by Kathleen Byron, becomes erotically obsessed with a British agent, leading to an unforgettable ending.
Kerr gives one of her best performances as the troubled nun, although it’s Byron’s portrayal of the delirious Sister Ruth, particularly in the famous lipstick scene, that lingers most. Despite its lush location, Black Narcissus was filmed in Pinewood, with exterior scenes shot in a garden in Horsham. Jack Cardiff’s beautiful cinematography and Alfred Junge’s sets both won Oscars.