The Kiss (1896)
Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive
(aka The May Irwin Kiss, The Rice-Irwin Kiss and The Widow Jones)
Edison Manufacturing Co.
This most popular short film was thought to be scandalizing. It was the first filming of a couple's kiss that was recreated from the two well-known stage actors' (May Irwin and John Rice) performance in the hit Broadway play The Widow Jones. The Edison catalogue 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."
Many disapproved and considered it inappropriate to view two physically-unattractive people magnified on the screen during an extended kiss. As 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."