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A Kiss Is Still A Kiss—Except When It’s A Movie Kiss

060209_spiderman_bcolstandardJust yesterday, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty was detained and questioned at Mumbai airport over the now-infamous kiss she received from Richard Gere five months ago at a public AIDS awareness event in New Dehli. (Some news reports say that she was arrested.)

Can you even begin to imagine the history of Hollywood films if kissing were banned on screen in the US? Would our movies have to sublimate all that erotic desire, so easily expressed in a meeting of the lips, with hours of singing and dancing in wet saris, like they do in Bollywood?

There are hundreds of great screen kisses. One of the best looks at classic Hollywood lip-locks is this well-thought out piece by Erik Lundegaard for

He hits on two main ideas: the best kisses—the ones that catch our attention—are the ones that don’t look like the Standard Hollywood Kiss ("Woman’s arms around man’s neck, man’s arms around woman’s waist, man 4-8 inches taller than woman.")  The best example here has to be the upside-down in the rain kiss from Spider-Man.

And a kiss that furthers the plot is one we feel more than one that brings the story to a crashing halt. The Philadelphia Story is an obvious one, when Katherine Hepburn realizes she’s marrying the wrong man during a drunken kiss with James Stewart (even then she goes on to marry Bachelor Number 3, Cary Grant.)

There’s another good list with some surprising choices by Kathleen Murphy at’s movie site. And for some interesting trivia on the history of kissing, check out this post at (wow, who would have guessed that kissing took a great leap when the toothbrush was invented?)

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