Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Bell, Book and Candle (1958, Richard Quine)


I bent the roles and counted Bell Book and Candle as a horror movie. More of a romantic comedy flick, with witches, warlocks and spells. Naturally there is a cat, too, which Kim Novak’s Gillian uses to cast a love spell on her neighbor, Shepherd (Jimmy Stewart) because well, she can. Yet she makes the classic mistake of falling in love with him. I also like that Jack Lemon was in this, and Elsa Lanchester is also wonderful, too.

Ah romance, even if it is powered by a spell. This is a joyous movie created by nice people starring nice people that maybe could only have been made in the 1950s. Female power is on full display and both Stewart and Novak have the same chemistry they displayed together in Vertigo. I also loved the use of color in the film, which made it look all the more stunning and lovely.

I also enjoyed the subplot of Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs’ novelist teaming to write a book on witches. This movie like so many other good or great ones puts New York City front and center, relishing in the wide and awesome location. It was nice to take a break from all the violence and mayhem I had been viewing to sit through a delightful movie for a change. Oh well, back to the gore grind.

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