Ok, the blog rejector is back. I thought it would be fun to post up some of my favorite movie kisses. Remember most of these were subject to the Production Code standards, but I think the ways that some of these directors figured out how to get around that produced some memorable results.
Rear Window- Grace Kelly/James Stewart
I just love this. The sun is setting, a pan around the apartment complex to the close up on Stewart’s face. This is a suspense film, so the ominous shadow that creeps over his face is slightly unsettling. But then the reveal of Grace Kelly’s face and that slow-motion kiss. And as many have pointed out before, when Stewart asks, “who are you?” The response of “from top to bottom, Lisa…Carol…Fremont” is matched by the camera revealing more of Kelly’s figure as she switches on each light.
North By Northwest- Cary Grant/Eva Marie Saint
Another Hitchcock. This one is full of innuendo played out over several minutes. Not much to say here except it’s pure fun.
Woman of the Year- Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy
This video was the only one I could find from this film, but it’s really their kiss in the cab after a night drinking, and the one near the end where she again asks for a good-bye kiss, that are the moments I love. This was their first film together, and I think, like Bogart and Bacall in To Have and Have Not, there is a feeling that we as viewers are seeing their relationship grow on screen and in life.
Carefree-Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers
The dancing duo had made their romantic statements through the elaborate dance numbers, and that was the always the intention. But audiences started to wonder why Fred and Ginger would never kiss onscreen. Finally, they were rewarded with a smooch at the end of this routine, in the eighth film that Astaire and Rogers did together. Just one more film later, their partnership would go on hold for ten years until they were reunited at MGM for The Barkleys of Broadway, so in some ways, it was a capstone moment for a partnership that has earned its immortality.
On The Waterfront-Marlon Brando/Eva Marie Saint
This is a great scene. I love the fact that Brando basically breaks into Saint’s room, but it’s all ok. Then there is her character, Edie’s, famous argument, “I didn’t say I didn’t love you, I said ‘stay away from me!'” This film is such a powerhouse, both of these actors won Oscars for their performances.
Notorious-Cary Grant/Ingrid Bergman
Hitch again, sorry. Here was the master director’s way of getting around the censors, who demanded that kisses only last a few seconds. He breaks them into several kisses, broken up by dialogue, moving around etc. This is a beautiful screen couple, no? (I love Cary Grant in this film, it’s a darker role for him) Notorious is a favorite of mine. I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves within the Hitchcock canon from a lot of people.
It’s A Wonderful Life-James Stewart/Donna Reed
Ah, the phone scene. When I first saw this, I was amazed at how sensual this all was, and it’s pretty tame by today’s standards. It’s the tight framing, the two of them around the phone. George Bailey doesn’t want to give in to his feelings around Mary because it would mean being stuck in Bedford Falls, the very place he’s been trying to escape forever. So there’s a lot of tension to begin with. The nagging mother is a nice touch of humor. It all works perfectly, Capra-style.
To Have and Have Not-Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall
Perhaps some of the most famous and sensual dialogue in film. The ultimate Hawksian woman, Bacall is able to get to the toughest man there was. This scene just puts a smile on my face every time I see it.
And as a bonus, the last scene of Cinema Paradiso (1988), when Salvatore views the film his mentor made for him out off all the kiss scenes that the town priest had cut out of the films.
*SPOILERS* This is the end of the movie. There aren’t really any plot points being given away, but this is fair warning.