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In 1672, two witches (Jennifer and her father Daniel) were burned by puritan Jonathan Wooley. In revenge, Jennifer cursed all future generations of the Wooley family, that the sons will always marry the wrong woman and be miserable. In the 20th century, a bolt of lightning frees Jennifer and her father from the tree that had kept their souls imprisoned. Jennifer assumes corporeal form and decides to make up-and-coming politician Wallace Wooley, then unhappily engaged, even more miserable by getting him to fall in love with her before his wedding. Wallace is a straight arrow, though, and Jennifer has to resort to a love potion. As we all know, love potions tend to backfire, with comedic results. Written by
The film opens with a scene of Puritans in the Massachusetts colony burning witches. No-one was ever burned for witchcraft in America. The accused witches of Salem, Massachusetts, and its environs were hanged, with the exception of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death with rocks. Burning was the European method of executing witches, and pop culture has long confused the two historical spheres. See more »
Whimsical comedy with wonderful Lake...wooden March...
Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway seem to get into the spirit of this whimsical comedy about witchcraft--while Fredric March (who reportedly disliked working with Lake whom he considered an inferior actress) does not come off well in comedy. Lake plays a witch whose ancestors burned her at the stake 300 years ago. March is engaged to Susan Hayward, but with the entry of Lake into his life, everything goes haywire. March is a gubernatorial candidate whose election to office is threatened by Lake's dexterity with broomstick magic.
Based on an unfinished novel by Thorne Smith (creator of "Topper"), the film emerges as a screwball romantic comedy well directed by Rene Clair and benefits from some good trick photography. The video print I have is on the murky side--I'm sure the original print featured better overall photography than the video version. With a cast that includes Robert Benchley among the supporting players, this is a comedy treat ideal for viewing on Halloween.
Warning: More enjoyable if the print quality is good!
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