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Bombshell on the Box – Kim alert!

February 19, 2010

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, BBC2, Sat Feb 20, 3.05pm

Kim Novak and James Stewart star in this delightful, if somewhat wacky, 1958 rom-com which simply oozes style.

Following in the footsteps of fellow blonde bombshell Veronica Lake, Kim plays a witch. But while Veronica’s sexy sorceress in I Married a Witch harked back to the 16th century, Kim’s character, Gil Holroyd, is a thoroughly modern type who runs gallery of primitive art in New York’s Greenwich Village and yearns for a normal life.

Bored and tired of being single in the run-up to Christmas, she contemplates using her powers to make her handsome new neighbour, Shep Henderson (James Stewart), fall in love with her – but when she learns that he’s engaged, she changes her mind… Only to change it back when she discovers that his fiancee is Merle (Janice Rule), the girl who made her life hell when she was at school.

Kim’s enigmatic qualities make her a beguiling sorceress (and dig her beatniky outfits, designed by Jean Louis), and the chemistry with Jimmy Stewart (who also starred with her in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo that same year) is tangible – especially the gloriously romantic Christmas morning scene at the top of the Flatiron Building …

This enchanting movie also stars the great Jack Lemmon as Gil’s bongo-playing brother and two veteran character actresses as fellow witches: Elsa Lanchester and Hermione Gingold.

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