This film features John Rice & May Irwin, two actors who had performed together in a long running play called The Widow Jones. The play ended with the two kissing and here they replay that scene for the cameras. The shot is in medium close-up and it takes a while to get to the actual kiss as the filmmakers give them plenty of time to nuzzle and chat (silently, of course) before Rice plants one on Irwin at the climax. This is the very first kiss ever captured on film and it caused a huge scandal; the Catholic Church called for it to be censored and the film was denounced as obscene in newspapers around the country. John Rice, not exactly a prime physical specimen, became about the most unlikely sex symbol of all time and he literally toured the country giving “kissing demonstrations,” which, of course, were also very controversial. I found this one to be pretty entertaining; it’s the first time that the camera’s been close enough to actors for you to actually even really consider using the word “performance,” and the couple have an affable kind of charm, helped along by the fact that they’re not exactly great beauties, but rather just look like a couple of normal people. And Rice has some style about it, neatly smoothing his mustache in preparation. 1 ½ stars.
tl;dr – first kiss captured on camera has surprising charm and warmth. 1 ½ stars.