Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
An underground society of Witches and Warlocks reside in the darkness of the Big Apple, congregating at a secret swank nightclub known as “The Zodiac.” Stewart plays an unassuming publisher living in a posh apartment building just above a witch (Kim Novak) who takes a liking to the mortal, and thus casts a love spell on him, to which he is powerless to refuse, to his eventual delight. Bit by bit, to his initial disbelief, he begins to realize that these magical people are a reality, and together with an author (who himself was summoned from Acapulco by enchanted luminous paper, which strongly reminded Me of the immolation of the parchment), they begin to uncover this occult world of witchcraft, seduction, and intrigue.
Enjoyable scenes include the justified mental torture of Stewart’s temporary fiancee,’ with a combination of blasting horns, strobe lights, and a well-timed shriek by Novak’s lokian warlock brother. And he is quite a character himself, primarily using his powers for flipping street lights on and off, changing traffic lights, and sexual conquests. It seems that because of her pretentious nature, she was also terrified by storms conjured by Novak in an art class, for being a critical lying sneak. All justified recourse. An author becomes wise to this secret society of witches and warlocks (yes, the film does make an appropriate distinction), thus, with the surprising cooperation from Novak’s brother, decides to publish a book on the subculture, much to the chagrin of Novak, who was planning on marrying the mortal Stewart, even though it is allegedly against “witch policy” to do so. She fears that his knowledge of her true being would frighten him away.
A delightful film overall: the characters are cultured, the accounts about Witches and Warlocks are about 70% correct, which can be overlooked for the fictional plot, which is devoid of the demoralization process. I am sure that this film did in large part inspire the Bewitched series.
[- Draconis Blackthorne]