I Married a Witch [1942]

This fun and stylish Rene Clair comedy gave two big Hollywood names--Fredric March and Veronica Lake--a chance to break away from their stereotypically serious roles (as intense leading man and film noir vamp, respectively) and exercise their funny bones. The sultry Lake stars as a Salem witch burned at the stake who returns to haunt the descendants of the Puritans who let her smolder, namely aspiring politician March. Lake concocts a love potion for her victim that will get him to fall in love with her, rather than his snooty fiancée (Susan Hayward in one of her early roles). Things get a wee bit complicated when said potion works its spell on Lake instead and she falls head over broomstick for March. Blissfully hilarious and romantic, this Witch is blessed with great chemistry between March and Lake (who never looked lovelier), dryly funny one-liners, and a scene-stealing performance by Cecil Kellaway as Lake's perennially drunk warlock dad. Robert Benchley of Algonquin Round Table fame also pops up in a supporting role. Rumored but never actually confirmed to be the basis for the hit TV series Bewitched. --Mark Englehart

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