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Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Fantasy  |  19 December 1958 (Finland)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 6,482 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 39 critic

A modern-day witch likes her neighbor but despises his fiancee, so she enchants him to love her instead... only to fall in love with him for real.

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Title: Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Bell Book and Candle (1958) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sidney Redlitch
...
Bianca de Passe
...
...
Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay ...
French Singer at the Zodiac Club
Bek Nelson ...
Tina - Shep's Secretary
...
Andy White - Shep's Co-Publisher
The Brothers Candoli ...
Musicians at the Zodiac Club
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Storyline

Gillian Holroyd is just your average, modern-day, witch, living in a New York apartment with her Siamese familiar, Pyewacket. But one day a handsome publisher, Shep Henderson walks into her building and Gillian decides she wants him--especially as it turns out he's marrying Merle Kittridge, an old poison penpal from Gillian's college days. So, Gillian casts a spell over Shep. But her powers are in danger of being exorcised by something stronger than the bell-book-and-candle routine: Love. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Getting here is half the fun... See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 December 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Bell, Book and Candle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gillian's cat is named Pyewacket. This name has become a popular one for cats because of this movie, but few know its origin: Pyewacket was one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the "witchfinder general" Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Maningtree, Essex, UK. He claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of a local woman. She was arrested and deprived of sleep for four nights, at the end of which she confessed and named her familiars, describing their forms. They were:
  • Holt


  • Jarmara


  • Vinegar Tom


  • Sacke and Sugar


  • Newes


  • Ilemauzer


  • Pyewacket


  • Pecke in the Crowne


  • Griezzel Greedigutt


  • Hopkins says he and nine other witnesses saw the first five of these, which appeared in the forms described by the witch. Only the first of these was a cat; the next two were dogs, and the others were a black rabbit and a polecat. So it's not clear whether Pyewacket was a cat's name or not. As for the meanings, Hopkins says only that they were such that "no mortall could invent." The incident is described in Hopkins's pamphlet "The Discovery of Witches" (1647).


See more »

Goofs

When Queenie throws back the curtain to join Gillian in the back room for the "summoning" scene, you can see the thread that keeps the curtain back so that the camera can follow Quuenie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gillian 'Gil' Holroyd: Oh, Pye, Pye, Pyewacket. What's the matter with me? Why do I feel this way? It's such a rut. The same old thing day after day. Same old people. I know I'm feeling sorry for myself but it's true. Why don't you give me something for Christmas, Pye?
The Cat: Meow.
Gillian 'Gil' Holroyd: What would I like?
The Cat: Meow.
Gillian 'Gil' Holroyd: I'd like to do something different. I'd like to meet something different.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Stormy Weather
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ted Koehler
Performed by Jack Lemmon on drums with The Brothers Candoli, the band at the Zodiac Club
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Do You Believe in Magic in a Young Girl's Heart? Jimmy Stewart sure does.
24 November 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It took Bell, Book, and Candle almost a decade to get from Broadway to the screen. John Van Druten's play ran for 233 performances during the 1950-1951 season and served as a starring vehicle for the then married Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer. I'm sure that the Shepherd Henderson that Harrison portrayed must have been light years different than Jimmy Stewart. Also the entire play took place in the Holroyd apartment and a whole lot of characters were added for the screen.

A good job was done in transferring this stage work for the screen, it barely betrays it's stage origin. Stewart is very good as the puzzled publisher who gets ensnared in a witch's spell because Kim Novak takes a fancy to him.

Novak was quoted as saying that her favorite leading man during her career was Jimmy Stewart and her two favorite films, Vertigo and Bell Book and Candle are the ones she did with him.

Hermione Gingold is absolutely brilliant as the head witch, Mrs. DePass, and watching Stewart drink that concoction she mixed up to kill Kim Novak's spell was a scream.

Jack Lemmon plays Novak's brother and by this time he was doing leads and carrying films on his own. He's good, but I do wonder why he accepted a supporting part here.

One thing I am curious about. How did they manage to get Pyewacket the cat to act on stage for 233 performances?


24 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
White hair dvbar1
That poor cat!!! shaun_sayre
The 'Just never learned to spell' line roximunro
Gillian's wardrobe MissScarlett67
name of the cat/familiar? nweissman
My favorite part Sorcerersbroom
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