Best and Most Memorable
Film Kisses of All Time
in Cinematic History


1956-1958


Best Movie Kisses of All-Time
Film Title/Year and Description of Kiss in Movie Scene
Screenshot

Baby Doll (1956)

Stolen Blackmail Kisses

This controversial psychosexual drama from director Elia Kazan was adapted from Tennessee Williams' play about a rural, middle-aged Mississipian named Archie Lee Meighan (Karl Malden) who had just married white-trash, 19 year-old 'baby doll' child bride "Baby Doll" Meighan (Carroll Baker). Her union with him wouldn't be sexually-consummated until her 20th birthday.

In the meantime, as the nubile bride repulsed her feverishly-horny husband, she allowed herself to be seduced by Archie's vengeful business rival, Sicilian Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach) in a room adjoining the dining room, while Archie spoke on the phone closeby. Vacarro told Baby Doll: "I do my own justice," and then lasciviously looked at her:

Vacarro: "I find you different this evening in some way...Grown up suddenly."
Baby Doll: "I feel cool and rested for the first time in my life. That's the way I feel. Rested and cool."

In the sneaky and steamy kissing scene behind the wall, seen from Archie's POV (although his back was turned), Baby Doll's hand reached up for the beaded chain on the light bulb above her head and switched off the light, engulfing them in darkness. They kissed as she breathed heavily - and then they kissed again (in full close-up).




Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

An Imposter's Kiss

This was the original horror sci-fi classic about pod people, from director Don Siegel - a cautionary tale about emotionless conformity, McCarthyism, and the threat of Communist takeover in the mid-1950s.

In the film's most memorable and frightening sequence, the town's doctor Miles (Kevin McCarthy) and fiancee Becky (Dana Wynter) fled from the town's space pods to try to elude the enemy and get help, while struggling to stay awake and remain human. As the last two humans (non pod-people) left, they escaped into a hilly wooded area and found refuge in an old abandoned mine, as scores of townspeople followed after them. Weary and desperately exhausted, they were again compelled to hide in a constricted place - under floorboards in a pit, located in the dark, deserted cave or tunnel that was perilously close to their pursuers. When the aliens departed, Miles left the faint Becky, who was falling asleep, to discover the source of beautiful singing or music that they heard.

Becky couldn't keep her eyes open any longer. She fell asleep briefly. When he returned to the mine, he found her lying slumped over and prostrate with fatigue. He tried to force her to go on, started to carry her, but fell in a puddle at the mine entrance. He took her in his arms to kiss her, and then drew away from her unresponsive lips. In a tight closeup shot of her face, he looked into the blank, dark, expressionless and staring eyes of his fiancée, realizing with a look of utter fright that she was now one of "them" - her body had been invaded and snatched. He knew instantly that this was not Becky but a treacherous imposter and victim. She confirmed: "I went to sleep Miles, and it happened...They were right." He was unbelieving: "Oh, Becky...I should never have left you."

His sweetheart of a moment ago now asserted: "Stop acting like a fool, Miles, and accept us." She screamed to the pod-people searchers as he fled:

He's in here! He's in here! Get him! Get him!

In voice-over, Miles explained: "I've been afraid a lot of times in my life, but I didn't know the real meaning of fear until, until I had kissed Becky. A moment's sleep and the girl I loved was an inhuman enemy bent on my destruction. That moment's sleep was death to Becky's soul..."



Tea and Sympathy (1956)

A Kiss to Talk About, With Kindness

One of the most pivotal and striking kiss scenes of all-time was at the end of director Vincente Minnelli's and MGM's bold story, adapted from playwright/screenwriter Robert Anderson's hit Broadway play. The drama dealt with teenage homosexuality and fitting in, in its story of a Chilton School student - a sexually-confused, effeminate (delicately featured) and misunderstood preppie named Tom Lee (25 year-old John Kerr).

Although he was not called a "homosexual" (the word was forbidden by censors), he was given other derogatory, ostracizing and mocking terms such as "strange" and "off-horse." Rowdy 'manly' boys on campus bullied, tormented and dubbed him "Sister-Boy." He found the most sympathetic ear in the person of his housemaster's wife, patient and understanding housemother Laura Reynolds (Deborah Kerr).

With problems in her own troubled one-year emotionless marriage to Bill Reynolds (Leif Erickson), an athletic coach and an avid outdoorsman, the love-starved and refined Laura befriended Tom - risking her marriage. [She saw in Tom similarities to her first young husband, who foolishly proved how courageous he was - and was killed in the war.] She blamed Bill for standing by as Tom was humiliated, while he insisted on rigid codes of manliness. Laura provided a new definition of manliness: "Manliness is not all swagger and swearing and mountain climbing. Manliness is also tenderness and gentleness and consideration."

Laura reached out to Tom to support his personal struggle, and had tried to be humanly nice to him without pity. She also admitted to Bill that she was "miserably lonely." In the most infamous scene set in the woods, Laura found a semi-suicidal Tom and assured him: "That was the nicest kiss I ever had from anyone." (She was referring to his attempt to kiss her the night before, when she seemed to rebuff him.). She offered herself to him for another kiss, to prove that they could both show affection toward each other.

She told him, as she held his face in her hands: "Years from now when you talk about this - and you will - be kind." Although not shown, it was implied that Tom resorted to an affair with a transgressive Laura to be 'cured' of his sensitive nature, and to help her fulfill her own needs. The Reynolds broke up - the consequence of Laura's indiscretion. Presumably, Laura had suffered afterwards for her adultery, as the repressive censorship code required. The film ended with a voice-over from Laura in an appreciative letter that she never mailed to Tom: "About one thing you were correct. The wife did always keep her affection for the boy, somewhere in her heart."


An Affair to Remember (1957)

Revelatory Kiss

This romantic tearjerking melodrama of star-crossed lovers by director Leo McCarey was a remake of the earlier McCarey film Love Affair (1939) with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne.

It ended with the scene of a startling revelation to wealthy playboy bachelor Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant). During his visit to Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) on Christmas Eve, he was unable to learn why she hadn't kept an appointment with him atop the Empire State Building (after meeting six months earlier on an ocean cruise).

The scene included his accusatory conversation with her as she remained unmoving and supine on a couch. He gave her a Christmas present of a shawl from his now-deceased Grandmother Janou (Cathleen Nesbitt)). When he was leaving after they diplomatically shook hands, he casually mentioned that he had once painted a picture similar to the way she looked: "I painted you like that with the shawl." But he had agreed to have the painting given away free to a woman in a wheelchair who liked it - "She was..." Suddenly he paused, and went into the adjoining room, where he saw his painting in a mirrored reflection. She was the recipient of his painting!

He returned to the living room and stared disbelieving at Terry, who requested: "Darling, don't look at me like that." He had made the ultimate discovery by inferring the devastating, terrible secret of how fate had intervened on the day they were to meet:

"Why didn't you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?"

They hugged for a tearful reunion, as she explained: "It was nobody's fault but my own. I-I was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there. Oh, darling, don't, don't worry, darling. If you can paint, I can walk. Anything can happen. Don't you think?"

He wiped away her tears and replied: "Yes, darling, yes. Yes, yes, yes." They kissed. A chorus sang atop a snowy view of New York City: "Our Love Affair To Remember."





Touch of Evil (1958)

Explosive Kiss

Director/star Orson Welles' nightmarish film noir about a world of drugs and violence in a squalid Mexican border town (Los Robles) opened with its most famous sequence - an audacious, incredible, breathtaking, three-minute, continuous-action uninterrupted crane tracking shot following a convertible (with a timed explosive placed in its trunk).

The camera descended and picked up another cheerful couple:

  • Ramon Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston), a handsome, Mexico City narcotics investigator (of the Pan-American Narcotics Commission)
  • his voluptuous blonde, honeymooning American bride Susan Vargas (Janet Leigh)

They were walking down the street and into the US (this was the first time they had crossed the border together) to buy an ice cream soda, and exchanging intimacies: "Do you realize I haven't kissed you in over an hour?"

As the inter-racial newlyweds kissed, the sound of the explosion of the detonated car overlapped on the soundtrack, and they turned their faces toward the blast.

The "very bad" incident violently disrupted and fragmented their relationship for the remainder of the film (Mike told Susan: "We'll have to postpone that soda, I'm afraid"), evidenced when she was framed for drug-addiction and murder.




Vertigo (1958)

"Stay With Me" Kisses

Alfred Hitchcock's compelling classic thriller explored the dark side of the psyche of an ex-detective who became obsessed and preoccupied with an enigmatic, suicidal woman - who would soon fall to her death.

Before their first major kissing sequence, anxiety-ridden retired cop Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) and cool blonde Madeleine (Kim Novak) spoke at the water's edge next to a craggy, wizened tree. Madeleine was haunted by recurring images and dreams involving death and darkness. Madeleine also described a second mysterious dream that had ambiguous significance - one of a Spanish tower, bell, and a garden - and then concluded that she might be mad.

Suddenly, she appeared frightened and ran down the rocks to the water's edge. They embraced in a perfect synthesis of both death and erotic romance within their relationship. As she hugged him, she begged:

Madeleine: "I'm not mad. I'm not mad. I don't want to die. There's someone within me, and she says I must die. Oh, Scottie, don't let me go."
Scottie: (protectively) "I'm here. I've got you."
Madeleine: "I'm so afraid. (They clung to each other and kissed passionately as the turbulent ocean waves melodramatically crashed on the rocks behind them.) Don't leave me. Stay with me."
Scottie: (promising) "All the time."

He vowed to protect her from harm (and thereby possess and identify with her, even if it meant personal annihilation due to her death wishes) - the climactic scene faded to black. (see further below)



Vertigo (1958)

Loving, Deceptive Kisses

In the memorable sequence at the mission, everything was as Madeleine had remembered it in her nightmarish dream - a village square and green, a cloistered Spanish church, a two-story gray wooden house, and a livery stable. In the livery stable, Scottie kissed Madeleine again and they told each other of their love:

Scottie: "I love you, Madeleine."
Madeleine: (hurriedly as she looked to the side) "I love you too. It's too late, too late."
Scottie: (reassuring) "No, no. We're together."
Madeleine: (frantic) "No, it's too late. There's something I must do."
Scottie: "No, there's nothing you must do. There's nothing you must do. No one possesses you. You're safe with me."
Madeleine: "No, it's too late."

She ignored his attempts to comfort her with repeated kisses and promises and ran off across the courtyard toward the mission's church and bell tower. He caught up to her in the middle of the village green where she again reiterated:

Madeleine: "Look, it's not fair. It's too late. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. It shouldn't have happened."
Scottie: (holding her tightly) "But it had to happen. We're in love. That's all that counts."
Madeleine: "Look. Let me go. Please let me go."
Scottie: "Listen to me. Listen to me."

She explained how she had to go through with things as planned inside the church - alone. She declared her love for him once again:

"You believe I love you?...And if you lose me, then you'll know I, I loved you and I wanted to go on loving you... Let me go into the church - alone."

After one more kiss, she turned, looked up, and rushed into the church. He glanced up at the bell tower for an instant, and then decided to chase after her. She started to climb up the bell tower's crude, winding and rickety wooden staircase. In his pursuit, Scottie felt acute acrophobia and vertigo.

At the top, there was a shrieking scream and a gray-clothed body resembling Madeleine's was seen through a side tower window apparently falling to her death far below. Scottie looked down through the tower opening and saw a still body lying dead on the adjacent rooftop below. (see further below)






Vertigo (1958)

Transformational Kisses

In another memorable sequence, when dead Madeleine's brunette 'look-alike' Judy (also Kim Novak) had finally made the full transformation into Scottie's image as the living Madeleine, the camera focused on Scottie pacing around before she emerged from the bathroom - his hopeful eyes were filled with wonder and emotion in an unforgettable image, as he saw the reborn reincarnation of his lost love. Anxious to please him because of her love for him, Judy slowly walked toward him like Madeleine would have. She assumed the actions, expressions and movements of "Madeleine" in order to please him and have him want her.

From Scottie's point of view - the ghostly figure appeared bathed in the eerie green-tinged neon light reflected from the hotel sign outside the window. Her metaphysical, spiritual figure assumed solid shape as she moved out of the ghostly green light and crossed the floor to him, to surrender to him.

They embraced and kissed passionately. The camera panned and swirled completely around them as they kissed, causing the walls of the room to appear to turn and change. Their background surroundings dissolved and placed them in the past - in the dark livery stable in Scottie's subjective imagination - the location at San Juan Bautista where he had attempted to cure Madeleine's hallucinations. Completely lost in the dream, overlapping fantasy and reality as Judy became one with Madeleine, Scottie also surrendered to her and she clung to him. The loving couple continued kissing passionately in front of the pale, greenish haze of the window.




Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses
(in chronological order by film title)
Introduction | 1896-1925 | 1926-1927 | 1928-1932 | 1933-1936 | 1937-1939 | 1940-1941
1942-1943 | 1944-1946 | 1947-1951 | 1952-1954 | 1955 - 1 | 1955 - 2 | 1956-1958 | 1959-1961
1962-1965 | 1966-1968 | 1969-1971 | 1972-1976 | 1977-1981 | 1982
1983-1984 | 1985-1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989-1990 | 1991 | 1992-1993 | 1994
1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006-2007 | 2008 | 2009-


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