Forgotten, Failed and Awkward Kisses in Silent Films

Those romantic, passionate clutches that silent films are famous for? Not always the case. Here are some kisses that didn’t turn out as planned, as seen in silent films.

Reginald Denny has left for work without kissing Laura La Plante, which just will not do at all. This is from Skinner’s Dress Suit, a perfectly delightful comedy of suburban life.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.

Douglas Fairbanks has a near-miss kiss in Wild and Woolly, one of many western comedies he made before he took to fantasy swashbucklers.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD as part of Flicker Alley’s Fairbanks box set.

Marion Davies avoids a kiss altogether with a very contemptuous fingershake in Little Old New York.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.

Neither Max Linder nor his kitty seem to have enjoyed that kiss very much in Seven Years Bad Luck. (Max had quite a way with animals in his films, I very much approve.)

Read my review here.

Released on DVD.

Clara Bow gives her little dog the hot and cold treatment in It, showcasing her flair for unscripted comedic moments.

Read my review here.

Released on DVD.

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6 Replies to “Forgotten, Failed and Awkward Kisses in Silent Films”

  1. Great GIFS, as always! Hard to single out a favorite here, but Marion Davies’ fingershake is a laugh-out-loud moment I’d forgotten. One good way to beat holiday pie-crafting exhaustion is to get out our copy of Little Old New York for tonight’s evening viewing 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving To All!

  2. A very interesting post. Had Clara Bow been watching Arbuckle films? The dog tail lift was carried out by many times by Roscoe, onscreen on his own dog. It seems nothing’s new. As far as I can tell, Roscoe was the only one to plant a full-on kiss on Mabel Normand (apart from near-hubbie Lew Cody) in ‘Adrift’. Mabel normally turned her face slightly to avoid a proper Hollywood kiss, or offered her hand. The passionate kissing she does with Chaplin (he’d have called it ‘snogging’) is a sham. She is merely kissing the dirty tide mark Chas always wore on his unwashed neck. Something to do with TB? We’ll never know.

  3. Love this post! This probably interests no one but me, but I always think of the Gershwin song “Treat Me Rough” when I come across the “Wild and Woolly” title, as it’s sort of referenced in the lyric, though I don’t know if there’s any real connection (here’s what I think is the most authentic, or at least authentic-seeming, recreation of the 1930 original): https://youtu.be/UajEUgw3-P8

    The Mickey Rooney version of the 1940’s changes that line, interestingly.

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