Bell, Book and Candle

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Overview

John Van Druten's stage comedy Bell Book and Candle starred Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer on Broadway. The 1958 filmed version stars James Stewart and Kim Novak, fresh from their successful teaming in Hitchcock's Vertigo. Novak plays Gillian Holroyd, a genuine, bonafide witch. Falling in love with publisher Sheperd Henderson Stewart, Gillian casts a spell on him, obliging him to dump his fiancee and rush to her side. All of this goes against the grain of Gillian's mentor Mrs. De Pass Hermione Gingold, who does ...
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Overview

John Van Druten's stage comedy Bell Book and Candle starred Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer on Broadway. The 1958 filmed version stars James Stewart and Kim Novak, fresh from their successful teaming in Hitchcock's Vertigo. Novak plays Gillian Holroyd, a genuine, bonafide witch. Falling in love with publisher Sheperd Henderson Stewart, Gillian casts a spell on him, obliging him to dump his fiancee and rush to her side. All of this goes against the grain of Gillian's mentor Mrs. De Pass 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 pompous, bibulous novelist Sidney Redlitch Ernie Kovacs.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The attitudes in this comic fantasy are very much those of a 1950s establishment mindset: Kim Novak's character loses her supernatural powers when she falls in love, and she doesn't mind losing her wiles if it means marriage and a placid domestic life with beau James Stewart. Nonetheless, the film has excellent production values, charismatic performances, and sprightly dialogue. It represented a change of pace for Novak and Stewart after their previous teaming, earlier that year, in the decidedly non-comic Vertigo. Much of the film's strength comes from their screen chemistry, though some of the witty sophistication of John Van Druten's stage play is lost in the translation to the big screen. Supporting performers Ernie Kovacs and Jack Lemmon have fine moments, as does Hermione Gingold.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/21/1994
  • UPC: 043396601321
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Shepard Henderson
Kim Novak Gillian Holroyd
Jack Lemmon Mickey Holrod
Ernie Kovacs Sidney Redlitch
Hermione Gingold Mrs. De Pass
Elsa Lanchester Queenie
Janice Rule Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay French Singer
Bek Nelson Secretary
Howard McNear Andy White
Wolfe Barzell Proprietor
Gail Bonney Merle's Maid
Monty Ash Herb Store Owner
Don Brodie Cab Driver
James Lanphier Waldo
Ollie O'Toole Elevator Operator
John Truax Cab Driver
Technical Credits
Richard Quine Director
Julian Blaustein Producer
Louis Diage Set Decoration/Design
George Duning Score Composer
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Ben Lane Makeup
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
Irving Moore Asst. Director
Charles Nelson Editor, Sound/Sound Designer
Cary O'Dell Art Director
Daniel Taradash Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Exceptional & Controversal for it's Time

    This movie is Timeless. If you want to laugh, this is the movie. Perfect Halloween Movie for Adults and Teens ages 16 +. I adore this one. I recommend this movie highly....Get's you thinking....Are there real witches? And are they really in NYC? I actually found myself looking on google for "The Zodiac Club"...LOL

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 22, 2010

    Terrific Film ,Assition very Valuable,,,

    Miss, Novak & Mr, Stewart 'seem' THE MOST UNLIKELY COUPLE. Tho,ALL works. Most defintely bewithched, bothered And bewildered!{ Mr. Stewart.}Additional award winning actors and actresses are a delightfull 'foil' with enticing dialoge that keeps Everyone 'guessing'. What Will Happen? Near as good as Any Alfred Hitchcock Thriller.Great for a dreary night. Cozy up with a bowl of pop~corn,a blanket,{if cold}and revel in this delicious slightly 'goose bumps' enchantment.Mr. Stewart Makes Any Film fascinating!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Does magic make love or does love make magic?

    This well cast film is a great romantic comedy. Kim Novak is an anthropologist who runs a shop selling primitive artwork and she happens to be a witch who is...well, bewitching. James Stewart is hard not to like as a charming and somewhat befuddled publisher who has an apartment above Novak's shop. When Novak finds that Stewart is going to marry the girl who got her in trouble at school, she decides to break one of her own rules and casts a spell on the unsuspecting Stewart who falls instantly and deeply in love with her. Their romance heats up the screen. But things get sticky when Stewart wants to get married and an author who likes to write about witches and warlocks arrives on the scene. Elsa Lanchester and Jack Lemmon are a lot of fun as Novak's aunt and brother. This movie is a lot of fun and makes for a good date film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Haven't actually seen it but hear me out!

    The 60's tv show Bewitched was based loosely on this play/movie, so I felt that should be mentioned. While I have not actually seen this movie, I have no doubt in my mind that the chemistry, acting, and plot are impeccable! Just look at the cast!! Right there you know it's gonna be something good. I've reccomended the first 5 seasons of Bewitched, the ones with Dick York as Darrin, however, there are 3 more seasons with Dick Sargent as Darrin...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    To the reviews that have already been submitted, I would like to add that the cinematography is by James Wong Howe, one of Hollywood's best, and that the musical score is excellent. Elsa Lanchester deserves notice as Gillian's mischievous aunt. Obviously I am an afficianado of this film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Simply Charming

    This is definitley one to see...Kim Novak is as beautiful as ever as Gilian, Jack Lemmon is charming as her bongo playing beatnik warlock brother, and Jimmy Stewart is well, Jimmy Stewart. A truly unique metaphysical love story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding Movie

    This is one of my all time favorite movies. I've been wanting it on DVD and finally found it on Barnes & Noble.com. YEA! It is a classic like no other. Kim Novak is gorgeous, and Jimmy Stewart is unbeatable! Sit back and enjoy an evening of fun and pleasure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Charmed...

    Easy on the brain charmer with Stewart playing his usual easy-going slightly befuddled regular-guy-caught-in-the-weirdness. Novak well-cast as the one who does the charming. Lemmon deliciously nutty in a slightly sinister way. It's the world before Harry Potter, Bewitched & Charmed. Actually, it looks like a movie waiting to be re-filmed...as does 'I Married A Witch' classic with Fredric March & Veronica Lake...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An all time favorite

    This is one of my all time favorite movies. I'm a big Jimmy Stewart fan and he's fabulous in this movie. It's a great love story, charming as well as funny. You'll be humming long after the movie ends, just as Kim Novak's character ''Gillian'' did in the movie. I'm naming my cat ''Piewacket''. Watch it and you'll see why!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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