Based on John Van Druten’s hit play, this adroit romantic comedy stars Kim Novak as Gil Holroyd – a witch living in modern Manhattan.
Gil wants to fall in love but fights the impulse as it would mean the loss of her powers. Enter Jimmy Stewart as handsome publisher Shep Henderson.
At first, the role of Gil calls for Novak to be emotionless and this suits her down to the ground. But when she has to play a woman in love, she changes so little it’s impossible to tell which is witch. Under her spell, Shep stumbles around looking vaguely blissful and resembling nothing as much as Dagwood after a hard day with Blondie.
Fortunately, the rest of the cast has the magic the stars lack.
Jack Lemmon is Novak’s mischievous brother, Nicky, a whimsical warlock who moonlights as a bongo player in a beatnik nightclub, Elsa Lanchester is their batty old aunt Queenie, and Ernie Kovacs is Sidney Redlitch – a self-obsessed author and supernaturalist who thinks he’s onto something.
Lovingly directed by Richard Quine, scripted by Daniel Taradash and beautifully filmed in New York by James Wong Howe, the film treats the world of magic with a straight face, making it all the more believable.
This was the Jimmy Stewart’s last film as a romantic leading man.
Shepherd ‘Shep’ Henderson
Gillian ‘Gil’ Holroyd
Bianca de Passe
Aunt Queenie Holroyd