Thursday, August 11, 2011

True Romance - the best screen kiss ever....

When I was 14 years old I saw a movie that has remained my favourite film of all time, even now 25 years later, it's still my favourite.

The movie is called "Room With a View" and is based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster.  It starred Helena Bonham-Carter (last seen in The King's Speech) as a young Edwardian woman called Lucy Honeychurch; Julian Sands (last seen in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as her admirer, George Emerson; Daniel Day Lewis as Lucy's aristocratic fiance, Cecil Vyse; and the indomitable Maggie Smith (from Harry Potter and Downton Abbey) as Lucy's irritating cousin Charlotte.

The movie is a Merchant & Ivory production, who specialise in making period films (usually set in Edwardian England) with exquisite detail.  Even though Room With a View was made 25 years ago, it has not dated at all.  Everything, from the costumes to the locations, to the soundtrack is as authentic and relevant today as it was when it was first filmed.  Other Merchant & Ivory films in a similar vein include Howard's End (also starring Helena Bonham-Carter), Remains of the Day and Jefferson in Paris.

The Kiss......

In the movie there is one scene in particular which has stuck in my head for 25 years.  Its a spine tingling, goose pimpling, rush of blood to the head, giddy at the knees, sweep you off your feet, tender, passionate kiss between Lucy and George.  
In my mind it is everything a kiss should be and I'm not the only one who thinks so - this kiss frequently appears in 'Best Movie Kiss' lists along with classics like the bone crushing kiss between Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind (I personally think there is no comparision between the two!)

Kisses are pretty commonplace in movies - unless you are watching an action movie starring Vin Diesel (why people?, why???)  - there is bound to be a kiss in most movies somewhere.  Some of them are romantic, some of them are soft porn but every now and again you see a kiss with just the right amount of tension or build up or passion and at that particular moment the chemistry between the two actors seems heightened and real and that's when the magic happens.  Your spine tingles and you feel a flush of emotion wash over you.  That's a really good movie kiss.

Okay enough talking about what is required for a really good kiss - it's time to experience it for yourself. If you have not seen Room With A View here is a little background to the scene we are about to watch.....

Background to the Kiss......

It is around 1905 and Lucy Honeychurch is on holiday in Florence, Italy with her much older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett.  Charlotte is conventionally English, with an extremely restrictive personality.  Lucy has been brought up in an upper class but easygoing household and has fewer inhibitions but both women find themselves initially confronted and then changed by the free-spirited backdrop of Italy.  

Lucy and Charlotte are staying at a small hotel where they meet other English guests including the middle class Mr. Emerson and his handsome, philosophical son, George.  Mr Emerson and George are radical free-thinkers of the Edwardian age, seeking to escape the repression of Victorian times. At first, the two Emerson men seem socially uncouth and embarrassing to Lucy and Charlotte with their modern views and opinions but as Lucy spends more time in Florence, she finds herself drawn to George in spite of herself.  There are a few awkward moments between them in Florence which build up the tension between them but Lucy is determined to stay conservative and respectable and tries to ignore him.
One afternoon, a group of the guests staying at the pensione take a carriage ride into the countryside outside Florence to enjoy a view of the city. 
Typically, the men wander off to smoke cigars or whatever while the women sit down on a picnic blanket.  Lucy accompanies Charlotte but soon gets bored listening to her gossip with a friend and decides to take a walk on her own.  Unbeknownst to her, George has also got bored and is standing in a meadow looking at the view when Lucy suddenly comes upon him.....

Now, watch the Kiss......

Oh cousin Charlotte, what a moment to come along and spoil everything!  I just love the look on George's face afterwards, it's like "I've been wanting to do that for ages and it was extremely satisfying".

If you want to watch a longer clip, click here to view this one on You Tube which is about 6 minutes long.

The Movie

If you get a chance to see the movie, I highly recommend it.  The costumes and scenery are beautiful.  The charactors are portrayed perfectly (Daniel Day Lewis as Lucy's aristocratic fiance, Cecil, is absolutely hilarious) and there are some very funny scenes in the movie when they return to England including a skinny dipping scene with George, Lucy's brother and the local Reverend Mr Beebe, played by Simon Callow (not someone you would want to see naked!)
By the way, the music playing in the background is an aria from Puccini's opera "La Rondine".  The soundtrack features Puccini throughout including the beautiful 'O Mia Babbino Caro' [the version on this link is sung by Sissel, a fantastic Norwegian soprano].

Do you have a favourite screen kiss from a movie?  Is there a movie you have loved for years?  I'd love to hear all about it.


  1. awwww :)

    I love the first big kiss that Buttercup and Westley have in the Princess Bride before he rides away to make his fortune.

    Cary Elwes was so fine in that movie, ooohh yeah

  2. Yes!!!! "there have only been 5 kisses in the history of the world ......" that one hahahaha. Cary Elwes is very, very fine (although Im pretty sure ever since then he has only played baddies!)

  3. It is funny that one screen kiss has left such an impression on you! I remember seeing the movie but alas did not remember the kiss! Thanks for Rewinding x

  4. @MultipleMum hehehe, I'm just a born romantic.....don't get me started on THAT love scene in Atonement - that's a whole new blog post!!!


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