By Michael W. Boyce (auth.)
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Additional resources for The Lasting Influence of the War on Postwar British Film
The sisters are placed under the leadership of Kerr’s character, Sister Clodagh, a young nun whose readiness is questioned by their Mother Superior (Nancy Roberts). The title—Sister Superior—and the duties of the position suggest that Kerr enacts another domestic role. The palace that the nuns have been given was originally a “House of Women,” where the former general’s concubines lived. The confusion about what type of “ladies” these sisters are THE POWER OF CHOICE 41 arises when Angu Ayah (May Hallatt) becomes excited at the news that ladies are coming to occupy the old house.
After acquiring the rights to, and adapting Rumer Godden’s Black Narcissus, Michael Powell recalls asking Pressburger “who was going to play Sister Clodagh? Answer: Deborah Kerr, said Emeric”59 . Black Narcissus tells the story of Sisters of the Order of the Servants of Mary who attempt to establish Saint Faith, a school and a hospital, in the remote village of Mopu amidst the Himalayas. The sisters are placed under the leadership of Kerr’s character, Sister Clodagh, a young nun whose readiness is questioned by their Mother Superior (Nancy Roberts).
Ruth’s desire prevents her from fulfilling her duties and responsibilities and causes her death. Moor argues that the emotion Clodagh displays following Ruth’s death is quickly stifled. However, I suggest that the very presence of this emotion challenges Moor’s assertion that Powell and Pressburger are suggesting that women must kill their desires outright. Desire must be controlled and managed, not eliminated, in order for Clodagh to continue her work. As we see in Brief Encounter and the flashbacks of Black Narcissus, memory is a powerful tool that cannot be compromised or purged.