I Married a Witch (1942)
‘I Married a Witch’ with Veronica Lake and Fredric March could be the foremother of all romantic comedies about a witch in love with a “mortal man”. It is based on the novel ‘The Passionate Witch’ by Thorne Smith.
The movie begins during the Salem witch-hunts. Veronica Lake’s witch character Jennifer, and her father are burned, and she casts a spell on the witch-hunter, Jonathan Wooley, played by Fredric March. He and his male descendants will always marry the wrong woman. After an expose of generations of Wooleys miserable in their marriages, we enter the present day, where the current Wooley, played by March, is about to marry. The witches’ spirits are released from the prison where they have been waiting after their bodies burned, and they start haunting Wooley. Things turn, and Jennifer falls in love with Wooley, just as we knew she would.
Will she be able to stop his marriage? Would her father be able to stop her from marrying Wooley? Will he love her even after he knows she’s a witch?
Bell, Book, and Candle (1958)
‘Bell, Book, and Candle’ is not based on a book, but on a play. In it, a witch, Gillian (played by Kim Novak) tries to spoil a man’s engagement to her college enemy, but she falls in love with him instead and loses her magic. The man, Shep (James Stewart), finds out that she’s a witch, and goes to another witch (who happens to be Gillian’s mentor), who breaks Gillian’s love spell, and Shep leaves Gillian. Will he manage to get his fiancée back? Will Gillian get her magic back?
This movie has some interesting sidekicks, like Gillian’s brother, also a witch, played by Jack Lemmon.
‘I Married a Witch’, ‘Bell, Book, and Candle’ and the 60’s TV series ‘Bewitched’, have very much in common. The movies were probably the reason why the television series was created.
This movie is based on the television series popular in the ’60s. The movie doesn’t manage to create the charm of the television series, and many fans of the original series were very disappointed with the movie. I saw the movie before seeing any episode of the series, and I thought it was rather charming.
The movie depicts the making of a remake of the television series. Will Ferris plays Jack, the actor going to play Darrin. He wants to find an unknown girl to play Samantha and finds Isabel, played by Nicole Kidman, who happens to be a witch in real life. Isabel falls in love with Jack, but when Jack finds out she’s a witch, he can’t deal with it. It all ends up well, of course, as this is a romantic comedy, and the end of the movie has some lovely nods to the ‘Bewitched’ series.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
I am not sure I would call this a romantic comedy… Sure, it tells the story of three witches, who wish romance into their lives and end up getting more than they can handle… Or so it seems. I think it is more a story of friendship and girl power, than about love. Nevertheless, it is funny, sexy and has magic, demons, witches and weird things happening, so I add ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ to this list of romantic witch movies to watch at Halloween.
This movie has a great cast: the witches are played by Susan Sarandon, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer and the romantic male lead is played by Jack Nicholson. Veronica Cartwright as the Christian wife of the local newspaper editor is wonderful in her role. This alone would be a reason to watch this movie.
‘The Witches of Eastwick’ is based on John Updike’s novel by the same name, but the movie is quite different from the book.
Practical Magic (1998)
The art directing of Practical Magic is absolutely wonderful. The house was built just for this movie, and also demolished after the movie was done, but the interior decor was amazing. The cast mentions the decor having had an influence on them. You can watch the movie just to get some ideas on how to decorate a witch’s house.
‘Practical Magic’ is based on a book of the same name. It follows the story close enough so that the times when it doesn’t, irritate me. Many others have said that they love this movie, so give it a try, despite my minor objection.
‘Practical Magic’ tells the story of a family of witches with a curse. Any man who falls in love with a woman in the family will die tragically. In the current time, there are two sisters, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman). Their mother died “from a broken heart” when their father died, and their mother’s sisters raise them, played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest.
Everyone in the village knows about the women being witches, and use their services during the night hours, and ostracize the women during the day. The girls are bullied all their childhood, and Gillian leaves the town, but Sally falls in love, gets married, has children and lives happily – until the curse hits her. Sometime later Gillian is in big trouble, and she asks Sally to help her, which she does, but the trouble follows them home. How could this story end happily? Because happily, it ends, is a romantic comedy.
‘Practical Magic’ is partially very dark, including demonic possession and exorcism, but the end is very sweet.