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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.

Director:

Richard Quine

Writers:

Daniel Taradash (screenplay), John Van Druten (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... Shepherd Henderson
Kim Novak ... Gillian Holroyd
Jack Lemmon ... Nicky Holroyd
Ernie Kovacs ... Sidney Redlitch
Hermione Gingold ... Bianca de Passe
Elsa Lanchester ... Queenie Holroyd
Janice Rule ... Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay Philippe Clay ... French Singer at the Zodiac Club
Bek Nelson ... Tina - Shep's Secretary
Howard McNear ... Andy White - Shep's Co-Publisher
The Brothers Candoli 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! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

19 December 1958 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bell, Book and Candle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the last movie James Stewart would play a romantic leading man to a younger actress. James Stewart was 50 and Kim Novak was 25. James Stewart was not uncomfortable with the age difference but Kim Novak did object and was uncomfortable with it. Stewart finally said; "Enough!". After this movie, Stewart only played movie roles where he was a married man or a loner. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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

Remade as Bell, Book and Candle (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Kim Novak at her best (looking)
20 May 2002 | by clydefroggSee 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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