Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews


Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Bell Book and Candle

Director:Richard Quine
Cast:James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs
Genre:Film, Comedy

By Luisa F. Ribeiro | Posted

Wizardry these days may mean a kid in taped-up spectacles, but if your taste in witches and warlocks leans more to the witty and adult, try the playful Bell Book and Candle, set in a weirdly magical New York. With her va-voom body and entrancingly husky voice, Kim Novak easily bewitches as Gillian Holroyd, a sorceress who keeps a lid on her great powers, living quietly with her cat Pyewacket and running a small shop selling rare artifacts. Gil's latent magical impulses are stirred by her practical--and mortal--neighbor, publisher Shep Henderson (James Stewart, who teamed the same year with Novak in the far darker Vertigo). Shep is engaged to a saucy social butterfly, who happens to be a despised former college mate of Gil's. Egged on by her ditzy aunt Queenie (Elsa Lancaster, who steals the film), Gil casts a spell on Shep, intending to break up his engagement, but she gets caught up in a little unexpected black magic herself. Trouble with Gil's rash warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon in far too small a role) and a dogged writer determined to blow the lid off the world of witchery (a pleasantly befuddled Ernie Kovacs) rounds out this fun farce based on John Van Druten's stage hit.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter