Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Fantasy  |  19 December 1958 (Finland)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 6,712 users  
Reviews: 87 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
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Did You Know?


David O. Selznick originally acquired the screen rights to the play and intended to cast Jennifer Jones, Selznick's wife, in the lead. When Selznick's rights to the play expired, the property then went to Columbia where Rex Harrison and Susan Hayward were slated to star in the leads. 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 »


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 »

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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.

48 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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That poor cat!!! shaun_sayre
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