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Bell, Book and Candle
Bell Book and Candle
Actors: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold
Director: Richard Quine
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2000     1hr 46min

Kim Novak is an urban witch who uses her powers to snare James Stewart in this engaging comedy classic. Special features: subitles in English and Spanish, production notes, interactive menus, vintage advertising, talent fi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold
Director: Richard Quine
Creators: James Wong Howe, Charles Nelson, Julian Blaustein, Daniel Taradash, John Van Druten
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Classics, Romantic Comedies, Classic Comedies, Jack Lemmon, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/28/2000
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Doug P. from LITTLETON, CO
Reviewed on 4/23/2014...
One of Jimmy's best movies -
Perfect comedy - Lemmon, Kovacs
James & Kim sizzle
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lori B. (angel13) from ALMA, MI
Reviewed on 11/8/2011...
this was a pretty good old movie, very clean. about a witch who puts a spell on this guy, he breaks up with his girl friend to be with her. It all ends great must see.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
William W. from MILL VALLEY, CA
Reviewed on 4/25/2011...
One of our favorite movies, a romantic comedy that succeeds at being funny and romantic at the same time -- unlike most in the genre. Novak is at the height of her allure and the supporting cast is brilliant.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Charming, colorful, quirky.....bewitching.
Matthew L. Mutchmore | Indianapolis, IN | 10/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Adapted from the stage comedy of the same name, Bell Book and Candle stars Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, fresh from their successful teaming in Hitchcock's Vertigo. Novak plays Gillian Holroyd, a genuine, bonafide witch who runs a south seas antiquities shop. Falling in love with her neighbor, publisher Sheperd Henderson (Stewart), Gillian casts a spell on him. With help from her aunt (Elsa Lanchester), she obliges him to dump his fiancee, and ex college rival, and rush to her side. All of this goes against the grain of Gillian's Endora-like mentor Mrs. DePass (Hermione Gingold), who does her best to counterract the love spell. Meanwhile, Gillian's wacky warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) courts disaster by coauthoring a book on black magic with Sidney Redlitch (Ernie Kovacs). Legend has it that a witch can neither cry or fall in love. If she falls in love, she will lose her powers....can you guess what happens?Rumor has it that this is the inspiration for the televisions series Bewitched. There are several striking, undeniable similarities. This film was released in 1958, and I find it just as enjoyable today as I'm sure it was then. Memorable performances by Novak as the icy-cool Gillian and Stewart in his last "romantic leading man" role drive the film. Jack Lemmon and Elsa Lanchester add a lot of quirky flavor as Gillian's spell casting family. Fast pacing, clever writing, great costumes and fabulous eye-popping technicolor make this a film worth watching over and over. It's sure to cast a spell on you too."
Quirky Romantic Film
R. DelParto | Virginia Beach, VA USA | 01/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If watching unpredictable films are your cup of tea, Bell, Book and Candle is the one to watch. The teaming of James Stewart and Kim Novak is excellent. The supporting roles from Elsie Manchester and Jack Lemmon bring a touch of comedy to the movie. And the sloppiness of Ernie Kovacs as the snooping author brings dimension to the story.A scene at the Zodiac Club where Lemmon bangs on the bongos with his combo brought the atmosphere of the counterculture of the late 1950s in Greenwich Village. It was hilarious when the band blared their tune of "Stormy Weather" and speeded it up in front of James Stewart's character's fiance. You could feel the tension between Kim Novak and the woman since Novak's character was a witch, and was falling for Shep(Stewart) she got Nickie(Lemmon) to get the band to annoy Novak's rival. I thought this scene stood out. Though some make think the movie is outdated, it is not at all. I loved the wintery street scenes of New York during Christmas time and the swurling colors of purple, pink,and green throughtout the film. The soundtrack was good too. An excellent romance film, but also a film of relationships of characters from different worlds."
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 05/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Shepherd "Shep" Henderson (Jimmy Stewart) is a nice, normal, everyday kind of guy. He is a publisher with everyday problems and works in an everyday kind of office. His fiancé, on the other hand, is much less than everyday, being the beautiful, and slightly obnoxious, Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule). When Shep's neighbor Gilliam "Gil" Holroyd (the always stunning Kim Novak) becomes irked with Merle, she decides to cast a spell on Shep to make him fall in love with her. Be careful what you ask for, sometimes you get it.

At the beginning of this movie Merle acts in a way that makes the audience generally dislike her. While we have yet to like Gil, we know that Merle is a manipulator. Thus, we find it easy to accept what Gil does to Shep and indirectly to Merle. Unfortunately for Gil, the more she is around Shep, the more she grows to like, and then love him. Of course, there is the inevitable heart breaking scene when Shep discovers, and believes, that she is a witch. There are moments near the end of the movie where you want the two to get together, but you wonder whether it can possibly happen. Kim Novak's Gil is perfectly played in the closing moments, where all of us want to smack Shep and tell him to wake up to the fact that Gil truly loves him and that love has changed her forever.

This movie features an excellent cast of supporting characters. Jack Lemmon is Gil's brother Nicky Holroyd. Nicky is the kind of warlock who enjoys doing little things, such as turning lights off and on, and tricking people. However, Nicky is humorously harmless. Hermione Gingold is Bianca de Passe, a rival witch to Gil, who has a more traditional approach to witch craft that appears relatively old-fashioned compared to Gil's modern sophistication. Shep turns to Bianca to help remove the spell Gil has cast on him. Elsa Lanchester is Queenie, a slightly bumbling witch who admires, assists and may be slightly afraid of Gil. Ernie Kovacs is writer Sidney Ridlitch who has been working with Nicky on a book about witches. Gil will never allow the book to be published, so the scenes with Sidney are an exercise in humor and futility.

Then there is Pyewacket the cat, Gil's familiar. The name comes from an interrogation by witch finder Matthew Hopkins in England during the 17th century. The name seemed to fit witches' cats, and other such cats have been name Pyewacket since, though Hopkins did not record what kind of animal Pyewacket was to have been.

The words "Bell, Book and Candle" refer to an exorcism. The movie opens with striking the bell, opening the book, and lighting the candle. The movie ends with striking the bell, closing the book, and blowing out the candle, which is supposed to be how to remove a witch's powers.

This movie was Jimmy Stewart's last appearance as a romantic lead. His costars were getting younger, with some half his age, and Jimmy felt the pairing was inappropriate. For the final third of his career he played father figures or average Joes.

"Bell, Book and Candle" is a charming romantic comedy that is interesting from several viewpoints. It is an interesting artifact of sophisticated New York, and the highly idealized way New York society appeared to be in the 1950's. The treatment of witches is somewhat different from other portrayals, where witches are often old hags bent over a cauldron in a smelly cave or broken-down hovel. The hip Zodiac Club had avant-garde music with a strong beatnik flavor. Few movies captured the essence of the beatnik style, with this movie being one of them. Jack Kerouac could easily have been in the audience.

This movie is a winner that showcases Kim Novak's talents even more than Jimmy Stewart's. Most of the movie is lightly humorous, but the end of the movie is emotionally powerful as Kim Novak's emotional performance pushes the light comedy aside. This movie is a wonderful treat from an era when sophistication still meant high style, and we could still be amazed by happy endings even when we expected them.