The Kiss (1896)

The Kiss (1896)

As well as pushing technological boundaries in the early years of movies, filmmakers have been pushing social acceptance boundaries as well.

In 1896, William Heise directed a re-enactment of the final scene of the stage musical The Widow Jones. This scene was a kiss between the two main actors May Irwin and John Rice.

Despite being just 20 seconds long, the film is renowned for being the earliest example of a call for censorship, with the Roman Catholic Church said to be shocked as kissing in public could lead to prosecution at the time.

As if in defiance of this outrage, The Kiss became the most popular film produced by Thomas Edison's company that year, and many theatres showed it at the end of every show.

You can watch The Kiss in full below - if you dare!


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