This is the first screen kiss, shared in 1896 by May Irwin and John C. Rice in a scene from the play The Widow Jones.
Accustomed to stage dramas, many viewers were shocked at the closeup. “Neither participant is physically attractive,” wrote reviewer John Sloan, “and the spectacle of their prolonged pasturing on each other’s lips was hard to bear. When only life-size it was pronounced beastly. But that was nothing to the present sight. Magnified to Gargantuan proportions and repeated three times over it is absolutely disgusting.”
Only 30 years later, John Barrymore would bestow 127 kisses on Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor in Don Juan.