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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Funny Thing Happened While Watching Black Narcissus

I've watched some cracking classic films this year (so far - it's not quite over yet and my hard disk recorder is full of them). However, along with All About Eve (1950), Indiscreet (1958), Bringing Up Baby (1938) and Monkey Business (1952), one of my favourites was Black Narcissus (1947) which starred Deborah Kerr, David Farrar and Kathleen Byron. Something happened while I was watching it that was a little bizarre but I didn't relate at the time - it's not really the kind of thing you put into a film review and I forgot to write a follow-up post about it.

Anyone who's familiar with Black Narcissus will know that it's a deeply atmospheric film with the constant sound of wind blighting the convent that sits high up in the Himalayas. Just as things were getting very interesting, I heard a squeaking coming from the kitchen. Shaken, I hit the pause button and glanced sideways. The dog was fighting with what I thought was a mouse. I yelled at her and she dropped it under the utensils trolley. There was a long moment then the thing reared up, bounced across the room making the most hideous noise and went straight into the crate of paperwork we have stored under the table.

Now, being a brave and mature girl, the first thing I did was call my father down from upstairs. I think I garbled something like - 'dog mouse will you - just get down here!'

He came downstairs, a little disgruntled because he still didn't know what I was babbling about and proceeded to have a look under the table. All the while, the television screen is fixed on a terrifyingly dark vision of a desolate convent.

It wasn't a mouse, it was a baby bird. That explained, perhaps, why the noise had been so violent (squawking not squeaking) but raised the question of how the dog had got hold of the creature in the first place. She's a docile little thing, scratches you by accident occasionally but doesn't have a vicious bone in her body. She wouldn't have pounced which means the poor thing must have fallen.

Anyway, my father took it outside and I waited a good few minutes before I put Black Narcissus back on. The rest of the film was seen with the memory of a dying squawk in my ears - it certainly added to the tension.

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