Bell, Book and Candle, like many other romance comedies, is set at Christmas. It’s a hilarious movie with witty dialog, terrific star power, and an enchanting story that appeals to the American audience. When I was growing up, it circulated on television as often as any other classic movie from that era. It has the magical power of pulling you onto the sofa—even if you didn’t see the beginning—and to remain on that channel. Sol Saks admits that he took inspiration from Bell, Book and Candle, as well as a 1942 film called I Married a Witch, when he created the highly successful television show Bewitched. And yet you will not see this movie on any Christmas movie line-up, a shame really. I have a theory about it. When Saks created Bewitched, he focused on magic as amusement, not social commentary. Bell, Book and Candle is rather sly about its social commentary. The story takes place in Greenwich Village, a prime location for beatnik counter-culture. The witches of the film are attributed as part of the colorful counter-culture. The setting of the film is during Christmas, a pagan holiday enveloped by Christians and even more decorated with trappings by American consumption. One of the first scenes occurs in a gallery exhibiting African art. Over the years, I believe it is this subtle irreverence about Christmas, along with the story ending after the holiday, which eased Bell, Book and Candle out of the holiday movie line-up. But it’s these same elements that make the movie intriguing and ripe for rediscovery with today’s audience.
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Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.