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The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day is objectionable when sober and abominable when drunk!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s Behind the Scenes Pic!

Recently I went on a bit of a Powell & Pressburger kick and finally saw many of their classics, including today’s featured film: Black Narcissus. My personal favorite of their work so far is A Matter of Life and Death starring David Niven, but there’s no denying Black Narcissus’ stature as a masterful piece of storytelling.

Not only is Jack Cardiff’s cinematography some of the best combination of lighting and gorgeous Technicolor film stock ever captured, but Powell & Pressburger’s tale of isolation and its effect on the minds of a convent of nuns in the Himalayas is captivating. I found I could never figure out where the movie was headed, especially when it started to enter a very thriller/horror mode toward the end.

It’s an amazing film, as are much of Powell & Pressburger’s work from this time period. Seek it out if you haven’t seen any of ‘em.

Today's shot features one of the more famous set pieces from the movie, the ringing of the bell. Check it out below!

Thanks to Criterion for putting out the awesome Blu-Ray and for digging up a ton of great BTS shots from the movie! Click here to see a bunch more from Black Narcissus!



If you have a behind the scenes shot you’d like to submit to this column, you can email me at

Tomorrow’s behind the scenes pic is up for a nice game of chess!

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Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page One

Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page Two!

Readers Talkback
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  • July 26, 2011, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Why Narcissus gotta be all black an shit?

    by vic twenty

    Powell & Pressburger are Racists.

  • July 26, 2011, 7:18 p.m. CST

    I too have never heard of it.

    by sweeneydave

    Is it from Harry's "pervy nun" collection?

  • July 26, 2011, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Nice! Seventh Seal or War Games tomorrow?

    by Squinty CGI Flynn

  • July 26, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST


    by bellscorners

    Yes. You are first. What's this P&P business? How come never heard of them? Are the movies any good? A little curious about the write-up - horror/thriller at end sounds like a bit of a change up. Kinda like Sunshine. Loved that movie.

  • July 26, 2011, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Kathleen Byron is Crazy Hot in this

    by Fred

  • July 26, 2011, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Okay, we get it- you are a "film lover"....

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    Now let's see some Yodas and Ewoks and shit.

  • July 26, 2011, 8:04 p.m. CST

    The part where the crazy nun puts on red lipstick

    by Tacom

    I first saw it on a crappy quality VHS and it didn't make an impact but later seeing it on DVD, wow! The technicolor in the movie is awesome.

  • July 26, 2011, 8:10 p.m. CST

    On a different topic...

    by Quackfu

    Just read Frank Durabont is walking away from the dead. WTF????? Any confirmation out there? Helloooo?????????

  • July 26, 2011, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Look what you do!

    by bellscorners

    The Chad Who Loved Me - Mansun. This is the answer to the question of what the coolest instrumental opening to a rock song ever might be. I digress. What was I talking about? Obscure films from the 40's? I read the write-up on this film, it sounds messed.

  • July 26, 2011, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Watched this movie a few months ago...

    by Dollar Bird

    Had some great visuals, but ultimately I was disappointed by it. Oh well.

  • July 26, 2011, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Quint is on a mission to destroy the magic of movies

    by lostboytexas

    and he wont fucking stop until Olivia Wilde rapes his face. Which should be any time now...

  • July 26, 2011, 9:50 p.m. CST

    The talkback here makes me sad.

    by Ted Knight

    What's the matter with you all? You don't touch a movie if it wasn't released after 1977? This movie is a painting brought to life! The setting amid the Himalayan mountain tops and the fire-dusk sky mixed with some searing moments of human emotional breakdowns and near possession-like performances make for a breathtaking yet unnerving experience. I know it's a cliche but hauntingly beautiful describes this film to a T. And finally, Deborah Kerr makes for one smoking hot nun.

  • July 26, 2011, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Stargrove: What good is a BTS pic if we have no idea what it is

    by matthooper8

    The images shown here are usually iconic characters from movies we know and love; giving us a picture of our favorite films from a new perspective. This is a just a picture of nothing to most of us.

  • Bought the BLACK NARCISSUS dvd a few years ago, now I need to upgrade.

  • July 26, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Quint's leaving the film territory that I'm familiar with.

    by Yelsaeb

    Never heard of this. It ain't my fault so don't stone me. What's really good about this column is I start to seek out all the stuff I've never heard of. So, again, thanks Quint for having this column.

  • When I was a kid, our escape from mainstream was neighborhood movie theaters, comic books, and other magazines like Rolling Stone, Famous Monsters, Fangoria, Hit Parader, Creem, etc. Those, along with the collective television audience we all were back then - and to a slight degree, still are. While some readers may find a photo boring or "nonexplosive" others of us see the intrinsic artistic and historical value. Perhaps some of you may discover intrinsic and palpitating value in a behind the scenes shot of Erika Eleniak preparing for her cake scene in "Under Siege". I know I would! That said, it is fairly easy to surmise that Abe Lincoln was correct when he adapted the words of John Lydgate to say, "you can't please all the people all the time." But, AND QUINT, THIS IS DIRECTED TO YOU. Keep doing what you're doing, however you want to do it. Rick Nelson's song Garden Party updated Lincoln and Lydgate by giving us a solution. "It's all right now, I've learned my lesson well. You see, you can't please everyone ... ... so ya, got to please yourself."

  • July 26, 2011, 11:55 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    From your lips to God's ears... I think?

  • July 27, 2011, 12:01 a.m. CST

    It's okay

    by Quint

    If you haven't seen Black Narcissus. If one or two of you decide to check out a Powell and Pressburger film because of this post then I'm ecstatic. There are still a few P&Ps I haven't seen yet. I just hope some of the more vocal negative Nancys will have some patience with these classic images. I mean, the last BTS pic was Return of the Jedi. No one can say I don't cater to mainstream geeks with this column. But ultimately this column is a reflection of my personal interests, too, and my love of film isn't just sci-fi/fantasy and horror from 1975 to today.

  • July 27, 2011, 12:25 a.m. CST

    Great pic, thanks Quint

    by swanstep

    To those of you who don't know BN, the pic is from the (set of the) climax of the film, an astounding, vertiginous apparent location that majorly influenced the bell-tower sequences in Hitchcock's Vertigo. The slightly bonkers melodrama of Vertigo in general owes a lot to this period of Powell and Pressburger.

  • Or do you expect this site to be pander to your ignorance? Maybe you should just sent Harry a list of all the movies you've ever heard of so he knows what BTS pics to feature.

  • July 27, 2011, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Excellent Film!

    by David Thornton

    Thanx for that one Quint!

  • July 27, 2011, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Christ, larsson

    by Mugato5150

    I usually come to Lucas' defense against all the haters but it was a pretty dick move to sue over the fucking stormtrooper design. Sue the creator of the thing, no less.

  • July 27, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Thanx Lasson

    by DangerDave

    Fuck Lucas. All "he raped my childhood" aside. The guy continues to prove that the only thing that he is good at is reprocessing the idea that he had 25 years ago, with the help of the best and brightest people in CGI, design, animation, and film tech. Paying them a good wage and claiming all the credit for the Star Wars Universe. Have you seen some of the extra features on the prequels where his staff role before him 20 design ideas...all of them awesome and his picks the one he wants and everyone claps? As much as I would like to get my dick beaters on a copy of Star Wars on days of giving Turkey Neck my money are over.

  • July 27, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Never Heard of these movies?

    by Warren

    So does that make me a fuck head of cinema or a person that gets fucked by the cinema?

  • July 27, 2011, 9:55 a.m. CST

    THis Movie looks GAY

    by blowmymo

  • July 27, 2011, 10:05 a.m. CST


    by The_Skook

    ...are you an expert on 'gay' movies (Mr ironically named) movieman4life? Thanks Quint for keeping up the diversity of The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day. One of the things still good about AIC.

  • July 27, 2011, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Nuns are evil

    by Knobules

    I went to Catholic School for 12 years. NOW a few of them are MEN. Yes MEN. Brutish mean UGLY bitches hiding in penguin outfits and torturing kids because nobody asked their ugly fat butts to prom.

  • July 27, 2011, 12:11 p.m. CST

    I really do have a friend who refuses to watch pre-80's films.

    by Damned if I can login

    He's totally serious about it. Won't watch *anything* made before 1980. Nothing whatsoever. It is truly his loss I suppose, but not in his eyes.

  • simulate being on the edge of a very deep chasm. For the photo you're looking at is situated in tha very place- the bell tower on the edge of a mountain in the hymalayas. What you do get is some of the most realistic matt painted backgrounds which make this movie look epic in scope. The sets of the convent are beautfully rendered, showing the nuns stark living quarters with very little wonder they begin to react the way they do when the handsome stranger turns up. What is also great about the movie is the slow build to the nuns discovering their sexuality, which as repressed as it is ultimately leads to jealousy and murder. They don't make movies like this anymore, and not in this way. It is a seriously beautiful slice of cinema history. Thank you Quint.

  • July 27, 2011, 12:52 p.m. CST


    by Stabby

    kick him to the curb! Life's to short to suffer fools.

  • July 27, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST


    by Damned if I can login

    Man, I've tried. I really have tried to get this guy to OPEN HIS MIND and experience some truly great entertainment. But he not only refuses, but he refuses *angrily*. Like, I told him that even though he has his policy there are still a few films that all should see. A good example is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. His answer? It's B&W. He absolutely refuses to watch any B&W film, no exceptions. Maddening it is.....

  • July 27, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Had a bad trip with Black Narcissus

    by tangcameo

    Stuck in the middle of nowhere in a tiny motel on the TransCanada Highway with insomnia and loudly snoring roommates. The television in the room played only 3 channels and I don't know where the hell 2 of them came from. One was CTV (think Canada's NBC), the second a US evangelism 24/7 station and the third played classical music, ballet and one scene from Black Narcissus (where the nun falls off the cliff), OVER AND OVER AND OVER... again 24/7. It was like some weird motel television hell.

  • July 28, 2011, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Some need to have their movie lover pass revoked..

    by Gabba-UK

    Never heard of Black Narcissus? Get out your mums basement much?? All joking aside, get yourselves some Powell and Pressburger films and watch 'em. You'll thank Quint. And Jack Cardiff is one of the top 3 cinematographers to ever walk the planet. A Matter of Life and Death is possibly my favourite film of all time. Some more BTS photos of that please if you've already had some and I've missed them Quint.

  • July 28, 2011, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Good lord man. So he/she has not seen Godfather?

    by Knobules

    How sad

  • July 28, 2011, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Yes, I am an expert. How did you know that?

    by blowmymo

  • July 28, 2011, 9:23 a.m. CST

    And maybe I will change my name....."4life" to "4now".

    by blowmymo

    SKook is lovin these pics

  • July 29, 2011, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Don't you think it's awfully common to smell like ourselves?

    by vincewhirlwind

    I love The Archers (which is the name of Powell & Pressburger's production company, for those TB'ers that don't know already). In fact, taken as a body of work, I would have to say that their films are my favourites. So much of what they did still looks vibrantly modern and experimental - viz the table tennis scene in A Matter of Life and Death, the opening scene of Colonel Blimp, and countless others. The photography is without parallel, the performances sublime, the scripts insightful, deeply layered and compassionate, the direction always innovative and arresting. Their vision was truly unique, and often attained heights of breathtaking beauty. tAnd all this, and so much more achieved more than a half century ago and with mainstream audiences in mind. Plus, P&P mainstay Roger Livesey is my favourite actor :-) I'm as geeky as the next man, but geekiness shouldn't be synonymous with narrow-minded cultural parochialism. Sometimes art, even popular art, demands a bit more engagement from the consumer. Go with it and you'll likely find that the rewards you reap from it are all the richer in the end. It's not for nothing Martin Scorsese venerates Michael Powell and drops his name at every opportunity. (Not to mention employing his widow Thelma Schoonmaker as his long-serving and brilliant editor).