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Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
Topic Started: Jul 3 2017, 09:46 AM (174 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Bell, Book and Candle (1958) Dir. Richard Quine

A Columbia Picture
103 min. / Technicolor / 1.85:1
On DVD from Columbia/Sony and BD from Twilight Time

Publisher Jimmy Stewart is about to marry his sweetheart, a rather ill-tempered and aloof artist, but she crossed paths years ago with Kim Novak, the witch who lives downstairs in Jimmy's building, who decides in lieu of turning the lady into a frog or transporting her to Siberia she's going to enchant Stewart into falling in love with her. Her dotty aunt Elsa Lanchester and brother Jack Lemmon take a dim view of the spell inasmuch as witches themselves can't actually fall in love; and meanwhile, hapless witchcraft "expert" Ernie Kovacs is in town gathering material for his next book. It all works out in the end.

One of my all-time favorite movies, so if you don't like this, just move right on. Go re-read my review of Dondi or somethin'.

Novak at her sexiest, and the superb cast is all wonderful beyond words (Hermoine Gingold is a sorceress with a way of making nasty potions, don't wanna forget HER) and Pyewacket the Cat deserves a special mention (even though if Columbia's press release was to be believed, it was actually 12 identical Siamese cats). Stewart was 50 and Novak was was 25 and nobody cares. One of the most romantic movies ever made, with a heart-wrenching final scene, and yet - let's not forget this - it's also hilarious.

Million-dollar Dialog:

Stewart, explaining his new girlfriend to his now-ex-fiance: "Gillian Holroyd - she's one."
Fiance: "A witch?"
"Yes!"
"You just never learned to spell."

Generally speaking, I can usually take or leave Jack Lemmon, but this is my favorite role of his, the bongo-playing Greenwich Village musician whose great power of dark magic seems to be limited to opening locked doors and turning streetlights on and off. Ernie Kovacs is positively hysterical as the addle-brained author, a magic expert who wouldn't recognize a witch if it turned him into a newt.

One of the screen's great romantic comedies. My date loved, loved it. And it's worth mentioning that Stewart is only in it because the deal that brought Miss Novak over to Paramount for Vertigo was contingent on Jimmy doing a picture for Columbia. Thankfully.

Have you gotten the impression that I love this movie? Good impression. But then, I'm a sucker for both romance and sexy witches.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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