Bow Ties and Bongos

Our Jack Lemmon tribute continues with a look at two films in which he plays supporting roles.

In 1958’s “Bell, Book and Candle,” Lemmon stars as a warlock who plays bongos with a suit-clad jazz combo in a Greenwich Village beatnik club. Kim Novak is the female lead in one of the sexiest roles ever committed to film. She plays a witch who deals in primitive art, and the set design includes many sublime pieces.

James Stewart plays the hero and looks great in all his outfits, especially here, with collar pin and knit tie:

Five years later, in 1963’s “Under the Yum-Yum Tree,” Lemmon plays a lecherous landlord who only rents to attractive females. The opening scene is a vaguely Southern California version of “Take Ivy,” with students strolling an unnamed campus in slim high-water trousers and penny loafers.

The film’s premise, laughably absurd today, is that a young hormone-engorged couple will test their compatibility by living together without consummating their relationship. Says the idealistic virgin, played by Carol Lynley, “I want to marry you for love, not overstimulated glands.” If that sounds funny today, wait till you hear her next line: “I don’t want to be carried away by my own fermenting juices.”

The boyfriend, played by Dean Jones (pictured below), wears a fine Ivy-styled corduroy jacket with hooked vent, natural shoulders and patch-flap pockets. But he also wears a mod suit with padded shoulders, six-inch center vent and short drainpipe trousers, and a natural-shouldered but double-vented tweed sport coat with lapel tab. The one constant among his jackets is a two-button cuff.

Lemmon spends most of the film as a Hefnerian figure clad in scarlet-red cardigan with matching socks, ever trying to lure winsome females into his wired-for-seduction space-age bachelor pad. — CC

1 Comment on "Bow Ties and Bongos"

  1. I’ll have to check out “Bell, Book and Candle”. It looks amazing; I can’t believe I missed it!

    Dean Jones is great. I always liked him in “The Ugly Dachshund”.


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