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Bell Book and Candle (1958)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,930 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 37 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:
...
Shepherd 'Shep' Henderson
...
...
...
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:

A bewitching comedy about an enchanting subject!


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 Cat meows, it never moves its mouth. Especially noticeable when the Cat is supposed to be agitated. 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

Edited into Bride of Monster Mania (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

From Here To Eternity
(uncredited)
Composed by Bob Wells and Fred Karger
Short excerpt in dance scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Kim Novak at her best (looking)
20 May 2002 | by (Fishers, IN) – See all my reviews

Bell Book and Candle is not a great movie by any means (it's fair), but it's worth checking out for a couple of reasons. First, it's almost hard to believe this is the same Kim Novak that graced the screen in Vertigo the same year. The combination of her manner in this film, and her incredibly striking natural good looks make her almost hypnotic. She wears little or no makeup throughout the film, and looks infinitely better than being slathered in makeup in all her other films. Sharon Stone wishes she looked this good.

The second reason this film is worth checking out is Jimmy Stewart. Now, while I consider Stewart my favorite actor of all time, there were many instances where he was just not effective in the role he was playing. He's at his best when he's playing the naive sap (Mr. Smith, Destry, Harvey), the everyday man (Made for each other, Philadelphia story), or the straight nose who is thrust into unusual situations (this film, You Can't Take it with you) where he can play off of what's happening to him. His weaker performances, I felt, were in his straight forward dramatic roles (liberty valance, man who knew too much, even Vertigo). This film is a chance to see his everyman thrust into wacky situations.

This film is a little too tame to be considered screwball, but as with any good screwball, the supporting cast is as important as the leads. Elsa Lanchester, AKA Bride of Frankenstein, is hilarious. Ernie Kovacs, as Sidney Redlitch, is an absolute riot. I had to pause the film when he goes looking for a little "post holiday cheer", I was laughing so hard. Then, of course, there's a pre-The Apartment Jack Lemmon in a supporting role, as well.

Bell Book and Candle isn't great, and it never really seems sure of what kind of film it's trying to be, but it's pretty funny and worth seeing for the performances alone.


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White hair dvbar1
That poor cat!!! shaun_sayre
The 'Just never learned to spell' line roximunro
My favorite part Sorcerersbroom
Bewtiched? Campsitemassacre
name of the cat/familiar? nweissman
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