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Bell Book and Candle (1958)

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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.



(screenplay), (play)
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


Getting here is half the fun... 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?


Cary Grant actively sought the lead role. See more »


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 Queenie. 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 Bride of Monster Mania (2000) See more »


From Here To Eternity
Written by Robert 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?

25 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
That poor cat!!! shaun_sayre
Gillian's wardrobe MissScarlett67
White hair dvbar1
Kim Novaks eyebrows! butterfly5700
The 'Just never learned to spell' line roximunro
name of the cat/familiar? nweissman
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