ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 07, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 32

Those ‘loathsome’ firsts in reel life!

A kissing scene in the latest Harry Potter movie filmed in England had to be shot many times over to achieve the desired effect — 30 attempts to be exact! Its star, the 17-year-old David Radcliffe has coyly admitted to enjoying every minute of the re-shoot. What of his co-star? Bored by his clumsiness, perhaps.

A scene from a Harry Potter movie.

No such nervousness in the first-ever movie kiss which created a major scandal 110 years ago in 1896 in New York. The kiss between Mary Irvin and John Rice (the real names of its performers), was the name of the film - there being no mystery about its title, to be sure! It was made by the famous inventor and pioneer movie maker Thomas Alva Edison. A then magazine, The Chap Book, had this to say: “The life-size view, bestial enough in itself was nothing compared with their unbridled kissing, magnified to gargantuan proportions and repeated thrice, is absolutely loathsome.”

The first kiss on screen

The year after, another “loathsome” scene was enacted in France. Georges Melies, a true master of the cinema, made a film titled, After the Ball, the Bath, presenting female nudity (rear view, though) for the first time. Unlike the New Yorkers, the gay Parisians took it in good humour without magnifying it to “gargantuan proportions”. Doubtless the French were the greater moving force behind the creation of the film industry.

Now that we are in the midst of an alcohol and cigarette ban it would be interesting to recall that the very first advertising film produced was called Admiral Cigarette in 1897. It was made by Edison, the creator of that foul kiss. This time creating a foul “smell” as well!

By Asoka Weerakoon, Kandy

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.