Saturday, March 3, 2012

Love and Magic: Bell, Book and Candle


I’ve started bringing pages from the book I’m working on, The Descent, to my critique group and the presence of a couple witches (in the book, not the group) prompted someone to mention the movie Bell, Book and Candle.

If you like all things magical, but especially witches, this is a movie you shouldn’t miss. It’s probably available on Netflix or some place similar and I’d bet more than one library has a copy on DVD. It’s the story of a young woman who happens to be a witch who decides to steal the fiancee of her old nemesis in college. But then she falls in love with the fiancée and loses her witchly powers and well, you can probably guess the rest.

Besides having a stellar cast—Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Agnes Morehead, and Jimmy Stewart as the love interest, if you can believe it—it has great ambiance. This coven of witches live in New York City, you see, and the brother (Lemmon) likes to go to jazz clubs. (It was made in 1958, when beatniks were still a curiosity to middle Americans.) I swear the movie must’ve been the inspiration for the television series ‘Bewitched’ because the premise is the same, right down to the fiancée/husband being in advertising (or maybe everyone was in advertising in America in the late 1950s/early 1960s) and having Agnes Morehead in the cast.

The movie definitely had some magic all its own, though, for all its campiness and predictability on the romance front. Otherwise, how do you explain its staying power in the minds of so many women who grew up then? Two women in the group had even named their first cat Pyewacket, after the Siamese in the movie. After being reminded of Bell, Book and Candle, I realized that I undoubtedly drew from the movie in shaping my view of how the world of the magical should work. Which is why I’m mentioning it here in this post. Go watch it.

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