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Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Fantasy  |  19 December 1958 (Finland)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 6,665 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.



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



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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


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


A bewitching comedy about an enchanting subject! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 December 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Bell, Book and Candle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title "Bell, Book and Candle" is a reference to excommunication, which is performed by bell, book and candle. It is opened with "Ring the bell, open the book, light the candle," and closed with "Ring the bell, close the book, quench the candle." See more »


When Bianca de Passe mixes the brew for Shep to drink, she hands him a large bowl then removes the hot brew pot from the stove with a pot holder. Her right index finger is shown touching the hot pot yet she does not react to this. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in The Good Witch (2008) See more »


From Here To Eternity
Composed by Bob Wells and Fred Karger
Short excerpt in dance scene
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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That poor cat!!! shaun_sayre
White hair dvbar1
Gillian's wardrobe MissScarlett67
The 'Just never learned to spell' line roximunro
name of the cat/familiar? nweissman
My favorite part Sorcerersbroom
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