Bell Book And Candle

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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.

ACTORS : James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon

YEAR OF RELEASE : 1958

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Bell Book And Candle  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:

Bewitched
Bell Book and Candle was shown recently on cable. Not having seen it for a while, we decided to take another look at this comedy. Based on the James Van Druten’s Broadway hit, which was a vehicle for Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer in the early fifties, the film was adapted for the screen by Daniel Taradash. The film was directed by Richard Quine, who turned the play into a delightful comedy.

Evidently, judging by some of the comments submitted by IMDb, the big issue seems to be the pairing of the two stars, who had collaborated on “Vertigo”, released the same year. Movie audiences didn’t think anything about the age difference when this film was released. In fact, most of the aging male stars of that period were always involved with much younger women.

The film set in Manhattan during Christmas is a delightful comedy that has enchanted viewers. Kim Novak was at the height of her beauty as it’s clear the camera adored her no matter what was she playing. As the witch that becomes human, her Gillian is charming. James Stewart, who plays the publisher Shep’ Henderson, is also seen at his best. Mr. Stewart was an excellent comedy actor who shows in here why he was at the top.

In supporting roles the wonderful Elsa Lanchester, playing Queenie, is a welcome addition to any movie, as she proves here. Jack Lemmon’s Nicky Holroyd, the brother of Gillian, is also good. Ernie Kovacs is also seen as the writer Sidney Radlitch.

This is an excellent way to spend a winter night at home watching “Bell Book and Candle”.

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