Bell, Book and Candle (1958) **

A witchy comedy set in Greenwich Village, pairing Jimmy Stewart with Kim Novak for the second time in a year; and what a relief to see them having some fun after being put through the wringer so resoundingly in Hitchcock's doomy Vertigo.
This one feels a bit flabby, like most late-fifties Hollywood, and certainly does not play as delightfully as Rene Clair's I Married a Witch, to which it looks back, or a really good episode of Bewitched, to which it looks forward. Where it scores over both however is in atmosphere, both witchy atmsophere and Christmassy atmosphere. It looks amazing, as does Novak, in beatnik fashions and frequently barefoot. (But what is it with her and those drawn-on eyebrows? She looks like Mal Arnold in Blood Feast.) Good value support cast, too, including Elsa Lanchester as the obligatory dizzy witch, kind of like Samantha's Aunt Clara, and a bongo-playing Jack Lemmon, just on the brink of stardom.