6.9/10
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94 user 41 critic

Bell Book and Candle (1958)

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.

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sidney Redlitch
...
Bianca de Passe
...
...
Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay ...
French Singer at the Zodiac Club
...
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

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Getting here is half the fun... See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 December 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Bell, Book and Candle  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart felt that he was miscast as Shepherd Henderson. See more »

Goofs

Although the story takes place in Greenwich Village, and Nicky's trick of turning out street lights happens just outside Gillian's shop, she later refers to her brother turning out the lights on 57th street, which would be 40 blocks north. 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

Featured in Bunheads: Next (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Noyé Assassiné
(uncredited)
Words by Charles Aznavour
Music by Florence Véran
Performed by Philippe Clay at the Zodiac Club
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Pyewacket and friends get the Hollywood treatment
26 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The play Bell, Book, and Candle was a favorite of mature actresses to do in summer stock and take on the road. One famous story, told by director Harold J. Kennedy, has Ginger Rogers insisting that her then husband, William Marshall, who was not an actor, costar with her. Marshall wore a toupee, and when he walked through a doorway, his toupee caught on a nail and stayed behind, dangling in the doorway as he walked on stage.

The play was adapted successfully into a beautiful color film starring Kim Novak, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Elsa Lanchester, Hermoine Gingold, Ernie Kovacs, and Janice Rule. It's light entertainment, about a normal-appearing family of witches (Novak, Lemmon, and Lanchester) and the publisher (Stewart) who lives in their building. The most expert of them is the sultry, soft-voiced Gillian, who would love to be normal. One night, with Stewart in her apartment, she puts a spell on him using her Siamese cat, Pyewacket, and he falls in love with her.

"Bell Book and Candle" was filmed on a charming set that replicates New York. The movie is loads of fun. Jack Lemmon is very funny in a supporting role as Gillian's brother, a musician in the witch and warlock-laden Zodiac Club. He uses his powers to turn streetlights on and off and to turn on the occasional woman. Janice Rule is perfect as the snobby ex-college rival of Gillian, now dating Stewart, and Ernie Kovacs has a great turn as an eccentric who is writing the definitive book on witches. Lanchester and Gingold, of course, are always wonderful, Lanchester Gillian's daft aunt and Gingold as a sort of queen of witchcraft.

Kim Novak is a good fit for Gillian, giving the character a detachment befitting a witch, showing emotion when it becomes appropriate, and with that voice, fabulous face, and magnificent wardrobe, she certainly is magical. Stewart, in his last foray as a romantic lead, costars with Novak as he did in Vertigo, and they make an effective team. He supplies the warmth, she supplies the coolness, and somehow, together they spark. In this, of course, he's much more elegant than in "Vertigo." A charming film, good for a Sunday afternoon, good around Christmas (as part of it takes place at Christmastime), and great if you feel like smiling.


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