6.9/10
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94 user 41 critic

Bell Book and Candle (1958)

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

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(screenplay), (play)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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A modern-day witch casts a spell over her engaged neighbor, only to fall in love with him herself.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sidney Redlitch
...
Bianca de Passe
...
...
Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay ...
French Singer at the Zodiac Club
...
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

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


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 December 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Bell, Book and Candle  »

Company Credits

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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 Manningtree, 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 mortal could invent." The incident is described in Hopkins's pamphlet "The Discovery of Witches" (1647).


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Goofs

In the Zodiac Club, when the Candoli Brothers begin playing "Stormy Weather", the soundtrack features trumpets with cup mutes, but the performance on screen is without mutes. 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.
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Connections

Edited into Bride of Monster Mania (2000) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Charming
28 March 2004 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Kim Novak, at the peak of her career, is lovely here, as beautiful (single) witch, Gillian Holroyd. New neighbor, Shep (James Stewart) moves in upstairs, and suddenly that "ole black magic" is brewing all over the place.

Based upon the popular 1950s stage play, this movie does have a bit of the stagy feel to it. Despite that, there is the good use of Technicolor, George Duning's pleasant score, and the great cast of comic actors. Ernie Kovaks looks a little out of place, but he does well. Jack Lemmon is great as Novak's warlock brother, Stewart is fine, Elsa Lanchester is good as well, and so is Hermione Gingold. The real star of the film, however, is Pyewacket, Novak's handsome seal-point Siamese cat. What ever happened to him?

Not exactly a knee-slapping comedy, but pleasant, lite and fluffy entertainment. Enjoyable, and a stark contrast to Novak and Stewart's earlier pairing (the same year) in Hitchcock's "Vertigo". Worth seeing.


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