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


1940-1941


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

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

"Golly, Moses" Kiss

Director George Cukor's literate comedy, adapted from Philip Barry's Broadway play (with Hepburn reprising her stage role), told about romance among the wealthy elite in Philadelphia.

During a private, outdoor conversation with rich, icy and privileged Philadelphian socialite Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), tabloid Spy magazine writer Macaulay "Mike" Connor (James Stewart) argued with her about her impending marriage to stuffed shirt George Kittredge (John Howard).

In an earlier exchange, he had called her arrogant and snobbish, but then he told her that she was adorable, wonderful and magnificent:

"A magnificence that comes out of your eyes and your voice, and the way you stand there and the way you walk. You're lit from within, Tracy. You've got fires banked down in you. Hearth fires and holocausts."

She doubted what he said: "I don't seem to you made of bronze?" He took her in his arms poolside in the moonlight:

"No, you're made out of flesh and blood. That's the blank, unholy surprise of it. Why, you're the golden girl, Tracy, full of life and warmth and delight. Well, what goes on? You've got tears in your eyes."

Enjoying what she was hearing, she told him: "Shut up, shut up. Oh, Mike, keep talking, keep talking. Talk, will you?" He stopped and loosened his hold on her, but then after calling him "Professor," with their emotions sweeping them away, he impulsively and forcefully kissed her mid-sentence. She happily took his melodramatic kiss and afterwards exclaimed softly: "Golly." She took a breath and kissed him a second time.

Then, she stood in his arms, her cheek against his chest, overwhelmed and amazed at herself and starting to shake, exclaiming: "Golly, Moses."



Rebecca (1940)

A Matured Kiss

Alfred Hitchcock's first American film, a Best Picture winner, was based upon a Daphne du Maurier novel. It told about a damsel-in-distress, recently married to a dashing and rich lord of an ancestral manor named Manderley, who was haunted by the memory of the man's first wife - a dead woman named Rebecca.

The night before a coroner's inquest into Maxim de Winter's (Laurence Olivier) first wife's drowning death, the second Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) was worried about how her husband might lose his temper at the hearing. She lovingly asked to be there at his side, as they stood together in front of the huge fireplace:

"Promise me that they won't make you angry...No matter what he asks you, you won't lose your head...I want to go to the inquest with you....I promise you I won't be any trouble to you. I must be near you so that no matter what happens, we-we won't be separated for a moment."

Maxim examined his new wife's face, and noticed how she had lost her youth and matured in spite of his wishes. They shared a very mature, heart-felt embrace and some kisses after he confessed to her:

"I don't mind this whole thing, except for you. I can't forget what it's done to you. I've been thinking of nothing else since it happened. Ah, it's gone forever, that funny young, lost look I loved won't ever come back. I killed that when I told you about Rebecca. It's gone. In a few hours, you've grown so much older."





Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Candlelight Kiss

Director Mervyl LeRoy's touching, melodramatic WWI-era romantic drama (told in flashback) was a monumental tearjerker, in its tale of a doomed romance between two lovers:

  • Capt. Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor), an upper-class British army officer
  • Myra Lester (Vivien Leigh), a virginal ballet dancer

The first kiss between them came in the romantic light of the Candlelight Club. They waltzed together to the orchestral sounds of "Auld Lang Syne," as they discovered their fresh new love for each other.

Soon after, they made plans to marry, although their circumstances turned tragic when she believed he had been killed during the war. Impoverished, she resorted to street-walking prostitution on London's Waterloo Bridge - and ultimately suicide.

Ball of Fire (1941)

"Yum Yum" Kisses

The two main characters in this classic Howard Hawks screwball comedy, often considered an adult version of the legendary Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tale, were:

  • worldly nightclub singer-dancer/gangster's moll Katherine 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck), on the run from the law and hiding out in a home
  • naive and square linguist Professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper)

Potts was leading a group of eight elderly bachelor professors ("squirrelly cherubs") in the home. They were writing-compiling an encyclopedia or dictionary and looking for examples of slang. The sexy, smart-mouthed and flirtatious Sugarpuss, who was helping with the slang research, was asked by the younger, less stuffy Potts to leave, since her sexiness threatened his work.

She claimed she was in love with him: "I couldn't stop thinking about you after you left my dressing room," and she called him "big and cute and pretty...to me, you're a regular yum-yum type." Also admitting she was "just plain wacky" over him, she proposed to show priggish Potts the meaning of "yum-yum."

First, she had to elevate her height by standing on two reference books: "I'm gonna show you what yum-yum is. Here's yum." She kissed him with her arms around his neck.

Then, she said: "And here's the other yum" (a second kiss), followed by: "And here's yum-yum." The force of the third kiss caused them to topple backwards onto the floor.



The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)

"Mustard" Kiss

Director William Keighley's slapstick/screwball comedy was about a runaway heiress, a common theme of 40s films (also It Happened One Night (1934)), starring two Warner Bros' stars in their second and last pairing:

  • rebellious, impetuous oil heiress Joan Winfield (Bette Davis)
  • pilot owner Steve Collins (James Cagney)

Temperamental Joan was about to marry vain LA nightclub bandleader Allen Bruce (Jack Carson), although her oil baron father Lucius K. Winfield (Eugene Pallette) was opposed to a quicky marriage-elopement to Las Vegas with the fortune hunter. He arranged for a private charter plane service pilot named Steve Collins (James Cagney) to kidnap her and take her to Amarillo, Texas. In return, freight pilot Steve would be paid the freight fare of her weight ($10/pound), helping him to pay off his debts to a finance company and avoid being repossessed. After they made an emergency landing in the desert during the flight and became stranded, their time in the almost-deserted former mining town of Bonanza, California inevitably brought the two together and he saved her from a bad marriage.

In the late scene of a mine cave-in, Joan and Steve were both trapped. He went to her as she was preparing for death and reevaluating her life by baring her soul. When she forgave him, he admitted that he wasn't married and that he loved her - and they kissed. She jumped back shrieking: "Mustard!", detecting that he had been secretly eating after finding a cave exit.



The Lady Eve (1941)

"I Adore You" Kiss

This sparkling classic comedy from writer/director Preston Sturges eventually ended with a happy, romantic conclusion to the farcical affair between two mismatched characters:

  • seductive scam artist Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck)
  • wealthy heir Charles "Hopsie" Pike (Henry Fonda), a snake expert

Their relationship suffered through conflict, deceitfulness, and confusion, although she finally succumbed to love and her Prince Charming. The lovesick and innocent Hopsie had rejected Jean/Lady Eve twice on the grounds of immorality, thinking that the bewitching Englishwoman Lady Eve Sidwich (also Barbara Stanwyck, in an impersonation) was only out to seduce, marry, and dump him.

When he accidentally was tripped by Jean Harrington on shipboard - again - he was delighted to again meet her. He suggested that they go to her cabin "or someplace" and he dragged her off and kissed her along the way. At her cabin door, she told him as they kissed and closely embraced:

"Why didn't you take me in your arms that day? Why did you let me go? Why did we have to go through all this nonsense? Don't you know you're the only man I ever loved? Don't you know I couldn't look at another man if I wanted to? And don't you know I waited all my life for you, you big mug!"

He replied: "Will you forgive me?" She responded: "For what? Oh, you mean, on the boat. The question is, can you forgive me?" But Charles still didn't understand that Jean had repeatedly duped him (as Lady Eve), and that they were in fact a legally-married couple. He vowed that he loved her no matter what and was finally willing to surrender himself to her:

"I don't want to understand. I don't want to know. Whatever it is, keep it to yourself. All I know is, I adore you. I'll never leave you again. We'll work it out somehow."

She slowly closed her door as he still wondered about her resemblance to Lady Eve ("I feel it's only fair to tell you, it never would have happened except she looked so exactly like you"), and weakly protested:

"I have no right to be in your cabin...because I'm married."

She softly replied that his marital status was fine with her as the door shut: "But so am I, darling. So am I." The film ended with Pike's valet Muggsy (William Demarest) escaping from the room, exclaiming: "Positively the same dame."




The Maltese Falcon (1941)

An Irresistible Femme Fatale Kiss

Warner Bros and director John Huston (in his directorial debut film) teamed up for this adaptation of a Dashiell Hammett novel about the frenzied search for a fabled bird.

Hard-boiled yet laconic detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) revisited duplicitous, vulnerable-acting femme fatale Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) in her hotel room. Spade wasn't interested in her tantalizing, innocent act and tried to pry more information out of her about the black bird, although he was intrigued by her play-acting:

"You're good. You're very good!"

When he told her he had been offered $5,000 for the bird, she turned to him:

Brigid: "It's more than I can ever offer you if I have to bid for your loyalty."
Spade: "That's good coming from you. What have you ever given me besides money? Have you ever given me any of your confidence, any of the truth? Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else?"

When she sexually quivered: "What else is there I can buy you with?", Spade brutally took her face in his hands and kissed her roughly. He dug his thumbs into her cheeks and she accepted his forceful and lingering kiss. Then he angrily and distrustfully told her:

"I don't care what your secrets are. But I can't go ahead without more confidence in you than I've got now. You've got to convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren't just fiddling around, hoping it'll all come out right in the end."




They Died With Their Boots On (1941)

Foreboding Doom Kiss

Director Raoul Walsh's western, made for Warners, took many liberties with history in its tale of the military career and personal life of an infamous cavalry officer. Before the military leader's courageous and deadly battle at the Little Bighorn, it followed (with many inaccuracies) the lives of:

  • defiant and daring General George Armstrong Custer (Errol Flynn), a Civil War hero
  • loyal and devoted wife Elizabeth "Libby" Bacon (Olivia de Havilland)

In the poignant ending, Custer gave a heart-rending farewell goodbye to his wife before leaving for his disastrous meeting with fate at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. She sensed disaster and had written about her fears in her diary (he reacted with astonishment to her written words).

The couple shared a few extended looks and kisses. She looked into his eyes as he told her before their final kiss: "Walking through life with you, ma'am, has been a very gracious thing." After he left, she stood against a wall and watched him go - and then collapsed in a faint to the floor, as the camera dramatically pulled back.

[Note: It was the stars' final screen pairing also - their final scene together!]




You're in the Army Now (1941)

Longest Kiss in Screen History

This military-related comedy film by director Lewis Seiler has reportedly the longest kiss in film history (a record held for many years) - just over three minutes, between the film's two romantic leads:

  • Capt. Joe Radcliffe (Regis Toomey)
  • Bliss Dobson (Jane Wyman)
 

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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