Book and Candle" on DVD
Before Samantha Stevens
graced our TV screens there was Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak), a beautiful
and good-hearted witch who sets her amorous sights on a mortal (James
Stewart) and ultimately gives up her powers in order to spend her life
Of course, she, and
he, have to go through a lot between her setting her sights and getting
the guy, and that's "Bell, Book and Candle."
Part of the "Columbia
Classics" series of DVD's, BB&C is a whimsical romantic comedy that,
while it may not have you on the floor laughing, will keep you smiling
and rooting for the protagonists right until the closing credits.
As a witch, Gillian
has a few limitations. She can't cry, she can't blush and, worst of all,
she can't fall in love. She can fall in lust, however, and that's what
she has in mind for Stewart's Shep Henderson, a book publisher who happens
to live upstairs to her Greenwich Village curio shop.
But what's a witch
without powers? So, since Shep is engaged to a woman with whom Gill had
run ins at college, she bewitches and spellbinds him - as if the classily
beautiful Kim Novak would need a spell!
An important subplot
to "Bell, Book and Candle" involves Gill's family and friends, all of
whom - naturally - are witches and/or warlocks.
When Shep contracts
to publish a noted witchcraft author's (Ernie Kovacks) next book, on witchcraft
in New York, Gill gets her brother (Jack Lemmon) to schmooze the author
away from her secret identity so it doesn't mess up her blooming romance
not surprisingly, things go wildly awry.
Novak and the supporting
cast, which also includes Elsa Lanchester, Hermione Gingold, and Janice
Rule, are all very good in their parts. Stewart's good as well, but seems
a little old to be playing an eligible bachelor. As mentioned in the liner
essay, however, this was his last film as a romantic leading man and perhaps
this is why. Still, his performance is fine.
DVD is offered in widescreen and pan&scan, and rather than having
to read tiny print around the disc's spindle hole you're offered the choice
via onscreen menu (hooray!).
The "old fashioned
technicolor" picture looks great and the audio is Dolby Digital mono directed,
as it should be, to the center speaker. The audio and video have been
digitally remastered, and it shows.
As with other Columbia
Classics DVD's, extras include a good liner essay, production notes, talent
files, trailers, and a selection of vintage ads for the film.
Bell, Book and Candle,
from Columbia Tristar Home Video
103 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital
Starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacks
Produced by Julian Blaustein, Screenplay by Daniel Taradash
Directed by Richard Quine
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