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Bell, Book and Candle

Delightful spoof on witchcraft, wherein publisher Stewart falls beneath the love spell put on him by beautiful witch Novak on Christmas Eve after he walks into her art store. Stewart postpones his wedding to Rule and slavishly follows Novak about. She, being a witch, is incapable of love but enjoys taking a man away from her stuck-up friend Rule. Lemmon, Novak's mischievous warlock brother, complicates matters by coauthoring a book on magic with drunken Kovacs, one that Stewart intends to publish (while under a spell); through the book's revelations Stewart discovers he has been hexed into affection. He is steered by Lemmon and Kovacs to another powerful witch, Gingold, who concocts a vile potion to counteract Novak's spell. One of the funniest scenes shows Stewart having to drink this witch's odious brew. The spell is broken and Stewart confidently returns to Novak to snap his fingers in her face. Novak suddenly loses her powers, and even her "familiar," a cat named Pyewacket, will not respond to her, going to Lanchester, her aunt, another practicing witch. Stewart, through the magical machinations of Lanchester, finds himself in a curio shop run by Novak; she has completely changed her ways and is out of the art and witch business. Stewart sees her crying, and she herself realizes that she is shedding real tears, a sign that she is no longer a witch and that she is actually in love with Stewart. Stewart is genuinely in love with her and all ends well, except that Lemmon and his magic-loving friends continue to kill the motors of running cars and put out the street lights of New York City. Good score, witty dialog, and shrewd direction make this a top comedy with cast members at their very best.