Bell, Book and Candle


Bell, Book and Candle

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 13


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,847
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Bell, Book and Candle Photos

Movie Info

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).


James Stewart
as Shepherd 'Shep' Henderson
Kim Novak
as Gillian 'Gil' Holroyd
Jack Lemmon
as Nicky Holroyd
Ernie Kovacs
as Sidney Redlitch
Hermione Gingold
as Mrs. De Pass
Elsa Lanchester
as Aunt Queenie Holroyd
Janice Rule
as Merle Kittridge
Philippe Clay
as French Singer
Bek Nelson
as Secretary
Howard McNear
as Andy White
Wolfe Barzell
as Proprietor
Joe Barry
as Exterminator
Gail Bonney
as Merle's Maid
Monty Ash
as Herb Store Owner
Don Brodie
as Cab Driver
Ollie O'Toole
as Elevator Operator
John Truax
as Cab Driver
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Critic Reviews for Bell, Book and Candle

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Bell, Book and Candle

  • Sep 05, 2010
    This movie is so fun, and was probably the inspiration for the show Bewitched. It has a great cast too. The movie is pretty good, but it could've been better.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2009
    A light romantic comedy with supernatural undertones starring the two leads from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo"? "Bell, Book and Candle" comes off like a light-hearted "Rosemary's Baby" or an adult version of Harry Potter. Jimmy Stewart stars as Shep, a book publisher living in a building full of witches (only he doesn't know they're witches). The pretty blonde witch, Gil (Kim Novak) decides she wants to use Shep as her personal love slave, and decides to seduce him away from his fiance (a girl who vexed her back in their school days). They all meet at christmas down in a cellar nightclub that's actually a haven for witches and warlocks. She casts a love spell on him and soon he's breaking off his engagement and pursuing the witch. Ernie Kovaks comes up from mexico as a novelist who specializes in books about witchcraft, and he explains that witches can't cry or blush, unless they fall in love, but then they lose all their power. It's a silly enough plot, but I read somewhere online that the nightclub and the witches and warlocks are all supposed to represent the homosexual community scene of Greenwich village in the late 50s. Whether this was the intention of the filmmakers or not, I don't know. There is, however, a lack of comedy here. There's just not alot of comedy here. It's a pleasant enough film though, and certainly enjoyable for what it is.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2009
    a drama/comedy about witches which is more of a family film than a childrens film which is better i think as you've got a bit less hocus-pocus and a bit more storyline. no wiggling of noses to be seen at all. it isn't bewitched. i've not seen kim novak in anything before and she looked nice but that's about all. james stewart and jack lemmon obviously always act well and did no different here. despite it not being fantastic it is very watchable and entertaining. i guess family films just aint my cup of jagermeister. also i've never heard a cat meow like a duck quacking before. do all siamese meow like that? fucking strange
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2008
    Enchanting comedy with a nice sense of whimsy. Jimmy and Kim are well matched and the supporting cast is perfect. The casting director was spot on the day they cast Elsa Lanchester, Hermione Gingold and Jack Lemmon, with his mischievious grin, as witches and warlock. Kim Novak was at the peak of her beauty here and her clothes not only compliment her character she looks amazing in them.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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