6.9/10
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102 user 45 critic

Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Trailer
2:36 | Trailer
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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The story of Alex Brandt, a publisher who moves into a flat above a curio shop that is run by Gillian Holroyd, a beautiful young witch, and her aunt Enid, also a sorceress.

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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 ... 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:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

David O. Selznick originally acquired the screen rights to the play and intended to cast Jennifer Jones, Selznick's wife, in the lead. When Selznick's rights to the play expired, the property then went to Columbia where Rex Harrison and Susan Hayward were slated to star in the leads. 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

Featured in Hollywood and the Stars: In Search of Kim Novak (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
In the score during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Kim Novak bewitches Jimmy Stewart, and the viewer as well...
1 June 2000 | by ragsthetigerSee all my reviews

The John Van Druten Broadway hit is brought to the screen with a maximum of star power in this romantic fantasy about a modern-day witch who beguiles a successful Manhattan publisher. James Stewart may get top billing, but it is Kim Novak who steals the show as one of the most alluring witches ever to cast a spell on the movie screen. The lead pairing is, in fact, one of the movie's few weaknesses: the gray-haired Stewart seems a bit old for the role, and while it is easy to see why he falls hard for Novak, it's a little harder to understand what she finds attractive about him, as they seem mismatched in temperment and outlook. (It is one of the story's amusing conceits that witches and warlocks are portrayed as Greenwich Village beatniks and bohemians.) Curiously, the Stewart-Novak pairing would generate a lot more heat in "Vertigo", released the same year as this film, but then "Vertigo" had a compelling suspense story, and the benefit of Alfred Hitchcock's direction.

The film's comic moments are mostly provided by the stellar supporting cast, including a young Jack Lemmon (as Kim's warlock brother), Elsa Lanchester (their ditzy aunt), and Ernie Kovacs (!) as a befuddled writer. Hermione Gingold even shows up in a hilarious cameo as a sort of Grand Witch. There's lots to like in this movie--wit, romance, and a great cast--that is, if you can possibly take your eyes off the enchanting Miss Novak. I have seen the movie a half a dozen times, and I never can.


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