The witch (feminist) who enchanted generations

Samantha Stephens was supposed to be a typical 1960s woman, except that – as a sorceress – she good-naturedly nudged all the sexist concepts of the time. With the simple twist of the nose, he did magic. The main character of the series Bewitched, aired in the United States from 1964 to 1972, turned into a movie in 2003 and is to this day one of the biggest pop culture references created on television.

Samantha was born from the imagination of screenwriter Sol Saks, who loved two films that dealt with “witches” in modern times, married to mere mortals. Love Spell, with Kim Novak and James Stewart, and I Married a Witch, one of Veronica Lake‘s most famous films, co-starring Frederic March. Sol Saks wrote the script, which ended up in the hands of actress Elizabeth Montgomery. She was looking for a project to star in and her husband (at the time) to direct/produce. Bewitched was “perfect”.


The story is relatively simple. Samantha and Darrin Stephens seem like a typical American couple at the time, she is a housewife and he is a publicist. The Stephens family conflict is a big secret. In truth, Darrin is just a clumsy mortal and Samantha is a powerful sorceress. At the request of her (macho) husband, she hides her gifts and does not use them to help him. Or so he believes. Yes, because like the women of her time, Samantha was much more than she let on.

From the outside, Samantha symbolized everything that the feminist movement, which was gaining strength at the time, abhorred. However, others point to the not-so-subtle criticisms that Betwitched made, with humor, about the position of women in the 1960s. Samantha had to be an exemplary housewife, good wife, and good mother of a family, without witchcraft, spells, or Magic. Totally submissive, just for being a woman. Of course, Samantha’s family resented her choice, especially her mother, Endora, who always made trouble for Darrin.



The conflicts of every episode revolved around Samantha’s effort to balance the two universes – mortal and magical – torn between society’s conservatism and her power to be much more than him. The magic of “twisting your nose” is still sensational today. Samantha’s powers do not require effort, it was enough to not like reality and change it.

The conflicts of every episode revolved around Samantha’s effort to balance the two universes – mortal and magical – torn between society’s conservatism and her power to be much more than him. The magic of “twisting your nose” is still sensational today. Samantha’s powers do not require effort, it was enough to not like reality and change it.

One of the most popular characters in the series was Samantha’s “cousin”, Serena. Serena was the opposite of Samantha, sexy, independent, and rebellious. He flirted with mortals for fun. However, unlike Endora, he ended up helping Samantha and Darrin, even if against his will. Serena represented the woman that women of the time feared to be.


Despite the critical and public success, Elizabeth Montgomery got tired of the series in the fifth season, accepting to do another three until it ended production in 1972. Samantha was adored by several generations, especially by actress Nicole Kidman, who starred in the film ( unsuccessful) directed by Nora Ephron.


“I always thought it would be fun to take something I loved as a kid and do it as an adult, as a tribute,” Nicole said at the time of the release. She was having dinner with a friend when she wondered if they had already filmed Bewitched. He soon discovered that Sony had long been considering making the adaptation and with Nicole, they were finally able to fulfill the dream. “I’m always drawn to darker content but Bewitched has a lot of me. I like sugar and I needed something tasty,” Nicole recalled.

It helped that, according to Nora, she had the same nose as Elizabeth Montgomery. As there was no script, the resemblance became the basis of the story. “Wouldn’t it be funny if someone was chosen for the role just because they had a similar nose?” suggested Nora.

The film, while criticizing Hollywood’s narcissism, failed to match the series’ humor and intelligence. Some spells are not so easy to perform…

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