If you’ve never seen Bell, Book and Candle (1958) starring Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon and a beautiful cat named Pyewacket, you must see it now! A dear friend recommended it to me about ten years ago and I’m so glad they did because it’s definitely one of my top classic movies. I’m not one for romantic comedies, but this movie is light and entertaining, and also beautiful to watch. The chemistry between Stewart and Novak is undeniable, possibly because in the same year they starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo together.
In the movie Novak plays Gillian, who runs a Primitive Gallery filled with carved masks and statues evoking a sense of magic brought to the city from the jungle. (They also remind me of tiki carvings.). Gillian wears 1950s fashions that are to die for and has a beautiful Siamese named Pyewacket, who she talks to like a real person (just like every cat owner I have ever met). Oh, and she's a witch.
The action starts when when Gillian finds out her upstairs neighbor Shep (played by Stewart) is engaged to marry her college enemy. To spoil the arrangements, Gillian casts a love spell on Shep (and hilarity ensues). In the end Shep finds out about the spell he is under and reverses it, only to then fall in love (for real) with Gillian and she too finds herself unexpectedly in love.... and they live happily ever after.
But enough about the plot, lets talk about the cat! I always say - what makes a classic movie even better? Art and cats! In this movie they used a live cat, a beautiful Siamese chocolate point with a purr as loud as a motor. I believe they used different cats throughout this movie, but I can’t believe they could find more than one so pretty.
Novak and Pyewacket casting spells.
Novak’s screen presence in this movie mimics that of her cat. Cats tend to be in control of any situation and strut around with supreme confidence. Novak’s character is no different. She is an independent business owner that appears cold at the beginning of the movie. She has a penchant for being more comfortable barefoot, even when it’s snowing outside and can often be seen in dark velvet dresses, draped scarves, low cut gowns, vampy red nail polish and short 50s coiffed hair to show off the long lines of her neck. To an outsider she is eccentric and fascinating, speaks in a low hypnotizing voice and lounges lavishly on her sofa. She manipulates the situation to make her life what she really wants it to be.
Here is a look at one of the stunning burgundy velvet, low back dresses.
Even her clothing is cat-like! Another clothing piece that absolutely blew me away in this movie is a cheetah print cape that she wears. Cheetah print is the logical choice because she’s a cat anyway and wrapped in drama. This cape is reversible and is in another scene on the black side, with cheetah trim! To-die-for!
Finally, here’s the trailer in glorious Technicolor…
I hope you are as spellbound by this movie and Pyewacket (and the clothes) as I am!
p.s. If you are feeling feline check out our leopard and cheetah clothes, we always have some available to purchase, whether it’s a dress, handbag or hair flower. Click here to shop for leopard on Cats Like Us.com.