Wednesday, 11 June 2014

K is for Kissing

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Kissing's great isn't it? It's a bit like sex only you don't need to get undressed to do it and people don't call the police if you do it in public. It's even allowed in children's films. PG Sex. The sexy kind of kissing, obviously, because that's the sort of kissing we're interested in here. This is a romance blog after all.

I've compiled a list of some of my favourite on-screen kisses. I've stuck to M/F tongue wrestling only for the list to keep the numbers down. I think M/M and F/F kiss scenes require a whole separate post of their own.

The Kiss (1896)

The world's first onscreen kiss. The 47 second film directed by William Heise for Thomas Edison's studios wasn't originally going to be publicly distributed. It  was intended to demonstrate how well film could handle close-ups. The public lapped it up though. I particularly love the part just before the kiss where the guy twiddles his moustache in preparation. I may give the hero of my next book a moustache just so I can have him do some pre-snogging twiddling.

There was a bit of an outcry at the time with one critic calling it "absolutely disgusting". It seems like a bit of an overreaction but then these days we have Celebrity Love Island and Two Girls, One Cup so maybe the guy could just spot a thin end of a wedge when he saw one.

Breakfast Club

The relationship's never going to last. I don't think they even like one another that much but it's a great kiss none-the-less. The best 80's bad boy from the best 80's movie. Why did none of the detentions I had at secondary school finish up like this?

Angel - "Hero"

There are plenty of great kisses in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That time Buffy kissed Angel just before sending him to hell. Buffy and Spike's first kiss at the end of the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling". But the very best kiss in the Buffyverse (and yes I hate myself a tiny bit for typing that)  happened in the spin-off series, Angel. Half-demon Doyle kisses Cordelia just before sacrificing himself to save the world. The scene was made even more poignant by the fact that actor Glenn Quinn was already dead by the time I watched this so there was no doubt that the character was never, ever coming back.

Son of the Sheik

Rudolph Valentino's kisses famously used every film inch that the censors would allow. His scenes with Vilma Banky in this film blur the lines between consensual and non-consensual kissing while he sultrily glowers for all he's worth. You can see why women went nuts for him.


Don't pretend like you didn't care. You cared. We all cared, Ross finally got the girl of his dreams and they live happily ever after. For a bit until it was all off. And then on again. And then off again. And then, finally, inexplicably on.


Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam star in my favourite adaptation of my favourite book by my favourite author, Douglas McGrath's 1996 film stayed pretty close to Austen's original text. Except for the kissing bit. No way would Austen permit Knightley and Emma to snog the faces off one another in public. 

Press Gang

This last one is my absolutely favourite but unless you are from the UK and pretty much exactly the same age as me, the chances of it meaning anything to you at all are pretty small.

Press Gang was a children's television show written by Doctor Who and Sherlock's Stephen Moffat in the late '80s. It was about a bunch of teens who ran the Junior Gazette newspaper. Julia Salwalha played Lynda, the editor and Dexter Fletcher was a super-cool wise-cracking American who pursued uptight Lynda throughout the first couple of series. The "will they / won't they?" dynamic played out between the pair of them and finally they DID! (Kiss, that is. This was a kid's show.) I was so happy about it, I did a bit of a dance round the living room. 

I can't find the clip on YouTube but their dialogue from that scene is pretty much permanently seared into my brain anyway.
Lynda: I don't want you to get the wrong idea about this kiss.
Spike: Absolutely. This is just a platonic kiss between friends.
Lynda (smiling): See, I knew you would get the wrong idea. Spike, you're shaking.
Spike: Nah, I'm steady as a rock. It's just the earth that's moving.
Oh my god, he was just so perfect.
At least this is how I remember it. If you recall differently, let me know and we can have a long detailed discussion about it. I'll be mostly saying "Spike was so dreeeeamy!" and humming the theme tune.

So what are your favourite on-screen kisses? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Great post. I share your delight for Emma.

    1. Emma is a btter novel than Pride and Prejudice, vut the love story in P&P is more interesting. Emma marries a father figure insted if the weak valetudinarian that Mr Woodhouse has always been, and even though Austen is too much a lady of her time to write about sex and spankings, I have no doubt that if Emma after her marriage to Knightley should behave as she did to Miss Bates on Box Hill, whe would be over his knees for a bare-bottom spanking. And both Austen and we readers would probably feel that it will do her a lot of good.

  2. Love this post! From the beginning, I never saw this first kiss movie clip, it's really sweet and I also love the mustache twiddling!

    oh, the Breakfast Club, but that is what made that kiss sort of great, they really still don't like each other and definitely have no future in highschool world, but they came to an understanding, and man, that kiss!

    Okay, I never watched Buffy or Angel, but I like your excitement!

    I once wrote a paper for school about Rudolph Valentino, weird but true. It is no joke why people loved him so much.

    Ross and Rachel, oh, Ross and Rachel!!! This kiss still makes me cry in reruns, it does! Ross is such a doof and so hopelessly in love, and Rachel is so the girl who had everything and then fabuously had nothing and finally got enough out of her own freaking way to find Ross. Sigh.

    Emma- I loved this movie! And I think it actually spurred me to give the classics a chance. And this kiss is just lovely-- or as you put it, snogging their faces off, eye of the beholder and all that :)

    I've never seen Press Gang, I am actually sure they never aired it here, but it sounds like I would love it! It also sounds like the storyline on 90210 between nerdy newspaper editor Andrea and dreamy Brandon Walsh who moves into the zip code from the midwest and steals her heart! Although, I don't think they ever ended up together, she was crushing on him and then got knocked up by some other guy-- they were always friends though.

    1. Just so we're clear I am TOTALLY fine with Emma and Knightley's kiss. It may not have happened that way in the book but it is a great scene.

  3. What a fun post! I was/am a fan of Friends and that kiss was awesome. Something about her hands on his face is so intimate.

  4. I still quote from Breakfast Club, in daily life. Because I'm "demented and sad, but social."

  5. Great post! I think those are some of my all time favorite on-screen kisses also! I forgot about that Angel epi. Oh, how I cried. I kept hoping he'd pop back out. Do you remember, there was an episode of Buffy like that? Where Angel had to go to hell, but then he came back.

    :) The Ross and Rachel is still my fav. If that episode comes on, I don't care if it's 1am, I always end up watching it till the end. I get tingles and everything. Every time.