Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Necessary Inspiration...

Sorry that's it's been awhile since my last blog entry. My excuse is a combination of being otherwise occupied with job-related stuff, along with lacking the inspiration of knowing what to post. Anyway, the latter problem was cured when I read this article on Jeremy Richey's blog, "Moon in the Gutter", about Kim Novak. As it turns out, Jeremy also lists Kim Novak among his alltime favourite actresses, as do I. So after reading his tribute the other day, I decided to watch the film "Bell, Book and Candle" again last night, so I could sketch a caricature of her. After I inked it up today and coloured it on Photoshop, I went back to Jeremy's blog again, only to find out that he's actually showcased this very film role as a follow-up to what he wrote the other day! Here is the link to his fine article on this film.

Jeremy Richey is a far more articulate film commentator than I, so there's not much point in my adding much to it. All I know is that Kim Novak is absolutely sultry and alluring in her role as Gillian, the gentle witch in the story. Since having first seen the film when I was a kid, I can appreciate it even more today for what I perceive as being a sly satire on America's fear and distrust of the communist movement, as typified by the "beatnik" characters who make up the coven of witches in late 1950's New York. Also, since we're at about the halfway point between Halloween and Christmas, this film seems to straddle that interim period quite nicely, being about witches during the Christmas season in Manhattan.

I've long admired Kim Novak's good looks, as, like her contemporary, Marilyn Monroe, she's quite representative of that more curvy, voluptuous type that was definitely in vogue back in the 50's. It's hard for me to pick an absolute favourite of her roles, but "Bell, Book and Candle" is probably it, though of course she is also renowned for her role in Hitchcock's "Vertigo". Also, being the huge Frank Sinatra fan that I am, I have a soft spot for Kim's role in "Pal Joey" too. This was their second film together, having costarred previously in "The Man With the Golden Arm". Here is an original autographed photo from my collection of Sinatra memorabilia, which is a treasured piece as you can imagine.

By the way, here's an interesting bit of trivia relating to "Bell, Book and Candle". Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney who is still active in the Company today, is apparently also a big fan of both the movie and the play on which it was based. So much so, that he named his yacht, "Pyewacket", after the Siamese cat that appears alongside Kim Novak as the "familiar" to her witch. (Hey, if I were Pyewacket, I'd probably want to be as familiar with Kim Novak as I could get!)

So in closing, I would like to dedicate this post to Roy Disney, as well as to Jeremy Richey, whose "Moon in the Gutter" blog has become one of my regular daily reads!

11 comments:

Kitty said...

Lovely to see you back blogging again ... and as usual it's with a stunning piece of work.

Take care :-) x

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much for the very nice thoughts. They mean a lot and I appreciate your support...I added a direct link to this article at Moon In The Gutter thanking you as well...keep up the great work.
Jeremy....
isn't Kim fantastic?

Mitch K said...

Great to see you post, Pete! I love the cat!!

Bitter Animator said...

Man, she has a fantastic figure. They just don't make 'em like that any more.

Michael Sporn said...

That's a great caricature. I knew immediately the film you were referencing even prior to reading your comments.
When I was young, I didn't like Kim Novak, however as I got older I saw how much she brought to her films. (And I'm not talking about sex appeal.)
I'd also like to point to George Duning's score in "Bell Book and Candle." There's someone who hasn't received the attention he deserves. His score for "Magoo's 1001 Arabian Nights" gives that film a class that wouldn't otherwise be there.

Floyd Norman said...

When I was a kid in Santa Barbara many years ago, Columbia Pictures "sneaked" a movie starring their new discovery. It was the first time seeing Kim Novak in a feature film.

I think the movie was called, "Pushover," and it would be an experience males in the audience would never forget.

Wowee!

Cinebeats said...

Fantastic!

Tony DiStefano said...

Hi pete,
Brian Mitchell mentioned you one day a while back so when i started to blog i looked for your site.Youre work is so good Pete and inspirational.There is a real joy to your desighns as well as strong draftmenship.I look foward to your future blogs.For the record,I still work with pencil and paper.Tony D.

Bill Field said...

Pete!- I never realized how much Samantha's evil-look-a-like cousin, Serena, took her style cues from Ms. Novak, all Kim needs is darker hair and a mole to be the look-a-like's look-a-like!

Off-topic, but Steve Moore has posted the second Eddie Show on youtube. I was curious if you ever saw one of these rare performances, I'm not sure if you were working for Disney yet-- The Eddie Show is explained in detail in the latest issue of the online FLIP animation magazine at www.flipanimation.net

Jenny said...

I too immediately recognized your caricature(film as well as actress)--lovely!
And a welcome post about one of my favorite films--add to that my passion for all things Kovacs, and you' ve hit a real bullseye with me.

I too named a beloved cat Pyewacket long ago in high school. And I'd agree that this is probably one of Kim's very best films, too unsung, really. By the way, she fell in love with the "actor" who played Pye in the move--and adopted him! Somewhere I have a clipping of her at an airport with the acting siamese that my husband found for me as a little fun bit of ephemera.

Incidentally, the truly wonderful soundtrack is avaiable on a double CD with the Magoo, believe it or not! A must-have imho.
I myself wanted to do a post on film credits, and intend to use the opening credits for "Bell Book & Candle" as an example of great, inventive scene-setting(those masks; the elegant panning coupled with the overture). The color design in the film is terrific as well.

Belle said...

I love this movie & I love this caricature! Just fantastic. Bell, Book & Candle is one of my mandatory Christmas viewing films.