XXXXXXX: A Kiscellany

INFLAMMATORY STUFF

In 1926, some 800,000 ft of kissing was cut from American films in Japan, where kissing was thought 'unclean, immodest, undecorous, and likely to spread disease'. Meanwhile, in India, ladies were meant to look away when celluloid lips met. Screen kissing is still banned in Iran.

STRETCHING A POINT

Hollywood's longest kiss is in You're in the Army Now (1940). Length: 3 min, 5 sec. Kissers: Regis Toomey and Jane Wyman, then Mrs Ronald Reagan. (From the Guinness Book of Records)

KISSING WITH CONFIDENCE

Gerald du Maurier, actor, to less suave colleague: 'Must you kiss her as though you were having steak and onions for lunch? Can't you say 'I love you' and yawn, light a cigarette and walk away?' '

RHYMES WITH KISS

Sammy Cahn's Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary lists only six: bliss, miss, Chris, sis, this and Swiss.

MAN TO MAN

Hollywood's first erotic homosexual kiss came in the orgy in DeMille's Manslaughter (1922). Fifty years on, Peter Finch's clinch with Murray Head in Sunday, Bloody Sunday still caused palpitations.

TYPECAST

Every leading man has to master the art of kissing, but only Gregory Peck was named after it.

WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT LASTING?

'Kissing don't last: cookery do]' - George Meredith, Modern Love (1862).

A CONNOISSEUSE'S TOP 10

Nicola Six, heroine of Martin Amis's London Fields (1989), is an expert on kisses. Her repertoire embraces the Rosebud, the Dry Application, Anybody's, Clash of the Incisors, the Turning Diesel, the Tonsillectomy, Lady Macbeth, the Needer, the Gobbler, and the Deliquescent Virgin.

KISS AND BE DAMNED

'Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,

. . . Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss]

Her lips suck forth my soul: see, where it flies]'

Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus (c1590).

DAMN AND BE KISSED

'I'd like to be kissed, damn you]' - Anne Riordan to Marlowe (no relation) in Farewell My Lovely.

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