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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 6,663 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.



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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


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 Cat meows, it never moves its mouth. Especially noticeable when the Cat is supposed to be agitated. 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 Law & Order: Criminal Intent: The Consoler (2011) See more »


Deck the Halls
Traditional lyrics and Welch melody
Performed by James Stewart by whistling
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Lesson In Chemistry . . . And Moviemaking
21 December 2001 | by (San Francisco, CA USA) – See all my reviews

"Bell, Book and Candle," one of two 1958 pairings of James Stewart and Kim Novak, may or may not be a great movie. I've long since given up caring about that question; these days, at the umpty-umpteenth viewing of the film (which dates back to the first time I ever caught it in its "secondary," or "neighborhood release" at San Francisco's Castro Theatre), I find myself still enjoying it as though I were seeing it for that first time.

On the surface, this should rightly be only one among many so-called, and largely formulaic, "sophisticated comedies" of the late-50s era. Wrong!

For one thing, you can't cast James Stewart in such a film and expect it to run true to form! More to the point, you shouldn't expect him to appear opposite Kim Novak (and 'opposite' here is the key word, in that his aura of decency and groundedness were diametrically contrary to the glacial other-worldliness which she personified), and not expect strange sparks to fly. (Hitchcock, after all, relied on this dichotomy, for different purposes, in "Vertigo.")

Add to this mixture certain key scenes which rely upon the comic chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs --already well-established in the previous year's "Operation Mad Ball" (and catch this overlooked gem, if you can, if only to see Kovacs at his absolute cinematic best) -- and you're well on your way to understanding why "Bell, Book and Candle" still turns up regularly on such venues as American Movie Classics, to say nothing of its "shelf life" in video rental outlets.

Were that not enough, you get BOTH Elsa Lanchester and Hermione Gingold, a first-rate score by George Duning ("Picnic"), superior production values and -- oh, yeah, by the way -- a storyline that can both make you laugh and pluck at the errant heartstring or two (if you don't watch out!) . ..

You get a lesson in cinematic chemistry. Maybe even . . . alchemy!

46 of 68 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
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