Ah, the romantic, cinematic kiss — whether it’s a half-bent over, dramatic Hollywood smooch, or a tender, warmhearted peck, two (or more!) pairs of lips meeting in the middle is iconic in the film world. The cinematic kiss stems back to the Wizard of Menlo Park himself, Thomas Edison, who featured the affectation in his 1896 film aptly titled, “The Kiss.” Though considered controversial and later censored, Edison’s film was also the most popular from his studio that year. Now the film is historically relevant (how times change) and set a precedent for the acceptance of public displays of affection for the future.
In BFI’s new video essay, they divulge into the amorous history of exchanging a buss, and explore how its evolved alongside the movies. After Edison, Charlie Chaplin had his hand at an on-screen smooch, and the first French kiss was featured in “Flesh and the Devil,” bringing the realities of relationships to the limelight.
Thanks to “Wings,” the first Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, the world got to see two males kissing, and a few years later in the inimitable Marlene Dietrich’s first appearance in “Morocco,” we witnessed a kiss between two women.
Animated kisses came with Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” just as interracial kisses were finally filmed in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” during the 1960s. With the 1970s and 1980s, the magnetic energy between co-stars continued, and directors, actors, and actresses embarked on discovering new and innovative ways to display their feelings and desires on screen.
What’s your favorite on-screen kiss? Let us know in the comments below.