Bell, Book and Candle

Bell, Book and Candle

Richard Quine (1958)

U Certificate


Our Score
The play on which this precursor to TV's Bewitched is based was a theatre hit for the elegant pairing of Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer. Although James Stewart and Kim Novak - reunited from the same year's Vertigo - are pleasant enough in this screen version, they are left struggling in a lush but charmless adaptation sadly lacking the right magical brew. Novak was director Richard Quine's muse (and lover), but both did better work apart, particularly Quine, who also paired this film's co-stars Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs to far better effect in Operation Mad Ball. Still, the Oscar-nominated art direction/set decoration is strikingly effective, there's a fine performance from Pyewacket the cat, and rival witches Hermione Gingold and Elsa Lanchester are good fun.


An alluring witch casts a spell on the handsome publisher who lives upstairs in her Manhattan apartment block to stop him marrying her old college rival. Meanwhile, her beatnik warlock brother is trying to write a novel in collaboration with a drunken novelist. Supernatural romantic comedy, starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs and Elsa Lanchester.

Cast & Crew

Shepherd Henderson James Stewart
Gillian Holroyd Kim Novak
Nicky Holroyd Jack Lemmon
Sidney Redlitch Ernie Kovacs
Mrs De Pass Hermione Gingold
Queenie Elsa Lanchester
Merle Kittridge Janice Rule
French singer Philippe Clay
Secretary Bek Nelson
Andy White Howard McNear
Director Richard Quine
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia Picture Corp. LtdAvailable on: video and DVD
Comedy Drama