As we approach Halloween a film comes to mind that is a personal favorite of mine. Book and Candle a 1958 American romantic comedy film. Directed by Richard Quine. The movie stars Kim Novak as a witch who casts a spell on her neighbor played by Jimmy Stewart. A must see for any movie goer with heart for the charming and unusual romantic affairs.
Taking place at the Christmas holiday, in Greenwich village. Gillian Holyrood (Kim Novak), a free spirit with a penchant for going barefoot, has been unlucky in love. She admires from afar her neighbor (Jimmy Stewart), publisher Shep Henderson , who one day walks into her gallery of African art to use the telephone (after Gillian’s aunt Elsa Lancaster put a spell on his phone). When she learns he is about to marry an old college enemy of hers, Merle Kittredge (Janice Rule), Gillian takes revenge by casting a love spell on Shep, and she eventually falls for him herself. She must make a choice, as witches who fall in love lose their supernatural powers. When she decides to love Shep, Gillian’s cat and familiar, Pyewacket, becomes agitated and leaves. The first sign of her magic wanning.
Sidney Redlitch , the author of the best-selling book Magic in Mexico, arrives in Shep’s office (thanks to a little magic) after Gillian discovers Shep’s interest in meeting him. Redlitch is researching a book on witches in New York, and he acquires an “inside” collaborator when Gillian’s warlock brother Nicky (played by Jack Lemmon) volunteers his services in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.
Gillian uses her magic to make Shep lose interest in Nicky and Redditch’s book, and then confesses her identity as a witch to Shep. Shep becomes angry, believing she enchanted him just to spite Merle, and the two quarrel. Gillian threatens to cast various spells on Merle, such as making her fall in love with the first man who walks into her apartment, but she finds that she has lost her powers because of her love for Shep. Meanwhile, Shep finds he literally cannot leave Gillian, because of the spell. To escape, he turns to another witch, Bianca De Pass, who breaks the spell. Shep confronts Gillian and leaves her heartbroken. He then tries unsuccessfully to explain to Merle that Gillian is a witch. Months later, Shep returns and discovers Gillian has lost her magic powers because of her love for him. When he realizes her love is true they reconcile.
There is actually a ritual called Bell Book and Candle. It is preformed as follows:
- Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive him and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.
- When all is said and done this is a wonderful film from the color, the shots, the acting and the comedy. Please put this in your trick or treat season bag of films to watch.