This post is part of the James Stewart Blogathon hosted by Classic film & TV Cafe. You can view the complete blogathon schedule here.
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
Okay, I know this film is not that great, but I have to count it as a guilty pleasure. I've seen it more times than many worthy classics and I confess, I am under its spell. Maybe it's the Greenwich Village ambiance (I would have loved to go to the Zodiac Club), maybe it's the witchy theme (I was a fan of Bewitched, too) or maybe it is the comfy and familiar supporting cast. I vote "yes" for all of the above, but mostly it is the great tinsel town chemistry of James Stewart and Kim Novak.
|Jimmy mainly looks shocked throughout the film|
We know they sizzled in "Vertigo," but I like them better together here. It is light, and fun and nobody falls off of a bell tower. While Stewart carried the Hitchcock film, Novak is the center of attraction here. While she may not have been the best or most versatile actress, she was bewitching and just perfect as the restless, other-worldly Gillian Holroyd. With her bare feet and lavender hair, she needed no special powers to attract a man. But, she worries that she can't keep one without those powers. Enter "Shep" Henderson, the man upstairs.
|Gillian and Pyewacket|
Stewart is clearly too old for the part (this was his last role as a romantic leading man), but in Hollywood in the 1950s almost all of the leading men were too old for the leading ladies. That being said, he and Novak have such an easy chemistry. She melts nicely in his arms and they exchange a few hot kisses. Stewart is a bit of a pill here, but he often played the irksome guy you wanted to smack. He ignored Grace Kelly in "Rear Window," dumped the superior Barbara Bel Geddes in "Vertigo" and was a general pain in the ass (albeit a cute one) in "The Philadelphia Story." Shep should have been falling all over Gillian, as he did when under her spell, but eventually love clobbers him over the head (after Gillian has given up her witchy ways and resorted to selling sea shells instead of African art). If I were Gillian, I would never have surrendered my powers (but I digress).
The supporting cast is aces. Although Jack Lemmon was not happy about being cast in the supporting role as Kim's mischievous brother, Nicky, it's always good to have him around. Elsa Lanchester makes for a charming eccentric aunt Queenie and Ernie Kovacs and Hermione Gingold are around for the fun.
|A super swell supporting cast|
And fun it is. No need to over analyze here. It is a delightful Hollywood product of the 1950s with star power to spare. And, just for the record, Jimbo was a swell kisser!
|Jim and Kim mush noses|