Bell, Book And Candle

Bell, Book And Candle (1959)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Elsa Lanchester, Jack Lemmon
Extras: Vintage advertising, Trailers, Talent files, Production notes

As part of their ’Columbia Classics’ series, Columbia TriStar Home Video is regularly releasing some of the most beloved classic movies on DVD. Here we have ’Bell, Book And Candle’, a highly entertaining and funny witchcraft story starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, Elsa Lanchester and Jack Lemmon.

Although Columbia TriStar Home Video usually has a reputation for putting out some marvelous transfers on DVD, ’Bell, Book And Candle’ is unfortunately not one of them. The source print that was used for this DVD is generally clean and without too many defects, the transfer itself appears a little inconsistent in contrast and color. The anamorphic transfer is detailed and well defined with sharply defined edges but exhibits some grain, and the fact that colors appear washed out in once shot to be replaced by very vibrant tones in the next makes the film appear aged and ripe for restoration. ’Bell, Book And Candle’ is presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio on the disc as well as in a cropped pan and scan version. The compression itself is without notable flaws or compression artifacts of any sort.

’Bell, Book And Candle’ features monaural audio tracks in English and Spanish. With its limited frequency response, the sound track sounds harsh and aged as well, due to the technical limitations of the time when the film was made. Despite these sonic insufficiencies however, dialogues are always understandable and clear without overly noticeable noise.

Although not as perfect as some of the other classic releases from Columbia, ’Bell, Book And Candle’ is a great movie with a great cast and a hilariously whimsical script. They just don’t make movies like this any more, and thanks to Columbia we can re-experience the charming glory of Hollywood’s 50s in Technicolor on DVD these days.