The actors wait for the signal. “Rolling,” says the cameraman. “Speed,” calls the sound man, indicating he is in ”synch” with the cameras. “Give,” says King.
Miss O’Hara looks happy. Mr. Power looks the way ten million women want him to look. They kiss. King grins appropriately. “Cut” he calls. “Print it.” And everyone heaves a sigh of relief.
Kisses may be the poor man’s cavier, but in Hollywood they are a headache. They are expensive. An ordinary, off-the-cuff kiss can cost $2,500.00; a super-coloss “struggle” sometimes runs to $10,000, depending on the cost of the set per day. Because of re-takes, the final clinch in “A Yank in the R.A.F.” cost $20,000.00, thus making Ty Power the most expensive movie kisser.
Reason for the high cost of film love are as varied as they are peculiar. Basically, the act of kissing is silly; there’s a delicate line of distinction between a soul-stirring kiss and one which just seems funny. There can be no distortion of features, no strining, no smacking. So 20 takes are sometimes run off. Gable has a cold. Lana Turner might catch it. NO shooting today. Bob Cummings has been eating onions again. Cut!
It isn’t likely that kisses will ever become unpopular. But if they
do, Hollywood will cheer with relief.
(Taken from article of unknown origin. It appeared to be some
kind of Sunday magazine newspaper supplement, obviously from the year the
film was shot - 1941 or 1942).
Very interesting to learn of some of the considerations that must be dealt with to get a kiss camera ready. Oh well, we in the audience will continue to fantasize that it's "almost" real. This is probably why a movie star shudders when someone asks..."What is it like to kiss......(so and so?). You really don't want to know.
©June Parker Beck 7-5-98