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The Kiss (1896)

In a medium close-up shot of the first kiss ever recorded on screen, two fervent lovers cuddle and talk passionately at hair's breadth, just before the love-smitten gentleman decides to give his chosen one an innocent peck.

Director:

William Heise

Writer:

John J. McNally (play)
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
May Irwin May Irwin ... The Widow Jones
John C. Rice John C. Rice ... Billie Bikes
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Storyline

A couple make love, in the 19th century sense. Then he grooms his moustache, and gives her a kiss. On the lips! Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

1 April 1896 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The John C. Rice-May Irwin Kiss See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film contained the very first kiss on film, with a close-up of a nuzzling couple followed by a short peck on the lips ("the mysteries of the kiss revealed"). The kissing scene was denounced as shocking and obscene to early moviegoers and caused the Roman Catholic Church to call for censorship and moral reform - because kissing in public at the time could lead to prosecution. The film caused a scandalized uproar and occasioned disapproving newspaper editorials and calls for police action in many places where it was shown. One contemporary critic wrote: "The spectacle of the prolonged pasturing on each other's lips was beastly enough in life size on the stage but magnified to gargantuan proportions and repeated three times over it is absolutely disgusting." The Edison catalog advertised it thus: "They get ready to kiss, begin to kiss, and kiss and kiss and kiss in a way that brings down the house every time." Perhaps in defiance and "to spice up a film", this was followed by many kiss imitators, including The Kiss in the Tunnel (1899) and The Kiss (1900). See more »

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User Reviews

 
Historical Landmark
28 February 2009 | by love_platipusSee all my reviews

Hearing what a scandal this caused, you have to wonder what the 1890-oids would think of what goes into movies today. But considering its only about 10 seconds long, you really have got to see this movie. Its a historical landmark. First romance ever filmed people, are you really going to miss that??

Imagine if kissing on screen was still a social taboo? Imagine every romance movie ever made ( Casablanca, Titanic, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Romeo and Juliet, etc. ) minus any physical affection whatsoever. it would be a lot more weird and a lot less fun. Think of what we owe to this film. I think we kind of owe these guys aprox. 10 seconds of our time.


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