Bell, Book and Candle ★★★½

James Stewart's publisher falls for Kim Novak's witch despite not believing in that kind of thing.

I think this is probably the DVD i've had the longest without watching, i got it in a cheap box set i bought to get Mr Smith Goes to Washington years ago. I just got a bit put off by the idea of it being glossy late studio male lead loses his stuffiness with woman half his age type thing. Sally's recent review and Scott putting it top of some lists made me dig it out.

And it is most of the things I was worried about but it's also well worth watching with perfectly pitched support that manages to give the whole thing some bite and melodrama and those weird 50s studio hints of sex. And it has Jack Lemmon yet again seeming like a Looney Tunes drawing and a surprisingly sexy and funny elsa lanchester. I'm not sure she's supposed to be sexy but there's something in her performance that works for me. Kim Novak is excellent as well, getting real depths of emotion from the questions of self and acceptance that the story raises.

I kind of like late 50s studio stuff just as historical documents of attitudes and this is a fine case study for those but it's also a well done romance with good jokes and some heartache.

Owen liked this review