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Extra info for Black Narcissus: Turner Classic Movies British Film Guide
Knowledge of her past threatens to shatter this position of authority and responsibility, indicating that in many respects she is as vulnerable as Sister Ruth, whose function in the ﬁlm is to represent hysterical, rebellious femininity. From this perspective Ruth represents what Clodagh might easily become: disturbed and uncontrollable, a ﬁgure of threatening madness. 27 Clodagh is established as somewhat vulnerable from the start. As we have seen, she is considered to be too young, too proud, not ready for the responsibility of being in charge of St Faith.
We are then at a hunt scene – galloping horses with two riders singled out who, we assume, are Clodagh and Con. The camera follows the chase for some time in a location typical of Powell’s aﬃnity for pastoral scenes in a spectacular landscape. The present intrudes as we cut to the chapel, showing Clodagh totally enveloped by her memory, looking thrilled and happy but with the cross still in shadow over her face, as an aural connection is made between the sounds of the hunt and the arrival of the young General outside the palace on his horse.
He went on to star in several other ﬁlms with imperial themes including The Drum, The Thief of Bagdad and The Jungle Book (1942). 72 As for Sabu, he immediately became trapped into stereotypical roles, living out his ‘rags to riches’ destiny. Sabu went to live in America in the early 1940s, becoming a US citizen in 1944. By then a popular star, he took part in the US Treasury Department’s ‘defense-bond’ sales campaign and served in the American Army Air Force. In the immediate post-war years his screen career had reached a low ebb, since none of the studios was planning a major imperial epic.