Blu-ray: ‘Bell, Book and Candle’

Kim Novak glows in “Bell, Book and Candle” (Twilight Time), the 1958 romantic comedy transplant from Broadway. Novak is at her best as a Greenwich witch halfway between the worlds of magical and mortality, looking after her dotty aunt (Elsa Lanchester) and mischievous warlock brother (Jack Lemmon) as they keep their skills in practice and staid, stuffy James Stewart is actually upstaged by kooky costars Lemmon and Ernie Kovaks. Elegantly photographed in rich, glowing colors by James Wong Howe, it’s a fantasy world of New York set to a funky bongo-laced jazz score by George Duning and director Richard Quine gives the witches an almost beatnik sensibility, a real Greenwich Village subculture hanging out in underground clubs and smart curio shops. It’s a lark but when it clicks it’s bewitching. Features an isolated audio track with George Duning’s score and a booklet with notes by Julie Kirgo.

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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