Every month at the Cinema Club we show a classic film and bring a guest expert to come up on stage with us and talk movies. We’ve been lucky enough to bring world-renowned film historians, internationally acclaimed filmmakers, and some of the best minds of the Austin film community together for this series, and it’s always a delight.
This Sunday, we’re inviting a guy who is more fun to talk movies with than almost anyone in town. Marc Savlov, film writer for the Austin Chronicle, is our guest, and the film he brings with him is a real doozy: he calls BELL BOOK AND CANDLE his favorite film, and that’s probably because he’s a maniac.
When I first saw this movie, it floored me. What is perhaps the greatest dark screen couple in film history, Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart, taken out of their iconic VERTIGO context and brought into a NYC comedy about witchcraft – how could this not be totally bananas? Released the same year as the Hitchcock thriller, BELL BOOK is a hilarious and bizarre slice of Hollywood at its weirdest, made all the more wacko by the actors’ palpable chemistry.
Jimmy Stewart is one of the screen’s most cherished stars, for very good reason (even if people don’t realize it): he was a unique presence on screen, voice and all, and he was able to snap on a dime, presenting some of Hollywood’s greatest fits of anger and resentment. Kim Novak is a painting by Renoir, exhibiting the soft beauty and idyllic grace of an angel. In this film she uses that deadly beauty to work through a strange plot about sorcery, seduction, and loyalty, and we are all the richer because of it.
This is a weird movie, but it is also brilliant. As a comedy it punches you in the nose. As a romance it will make you swell with the memories of VERTIGO as much as the two leading actors clearly are. As a fantasy, it is a masterpiece of the genre.
Do not miss BELL BOOK AND CANDLE with our insightful journalist friend Marc Savlov presenting. Be prepared to be blown away.