|Directed by||Jacques Feyder|
|Screenplay by||Hanns Kräly|
|Story by||George M. Saville|
|Edited by||Ben Lewis|
|November 16, 1929 |
|62–65 minutes  |
|Budget||US$ 257,000[ citation needed ]|
The Kiss is a 1929 American silent drama film directed by Jacques Feyder, starring Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, and Lew Ayres in his first feature film. Based on a short story by George M. Saville, The Kiss bears the same title as the 1896 short that "shocked" the American public by being the first motion picture to depict a couple kissing.  This 1929 production is notable for being the last major silent film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and the final silent performances by both Garbo and Conrad Nagel. Although this film is not entirely silent, MGM did take partial advantage of the new sound technology and released The Kiss with an orchestral score and sound effects recorded by the Movietone system. 
The story is set in 1929 and begins inside the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France. Two lovers – Irene Guarry (Greta Garbo) and André Dubail (Conrad Nagel) – feign interest in artwork as they discuss their clandestine romance. Irene is a young woman unhappily married to Charles Guarry (Anders Randolf), a wealthy, much older businessman, whose company teeters near bankruptcy. André is a successful lawyer, unmarried, close to Irene's age, and determined to face Charles and profess his love for Irene. Despite being trapped in a loveless marriage, Irene fears her husband's violent temper and his reaction if André were to confront him. "He's madly jealous," she tells André, and insists that her marriage situation is hopelessly bound by "convention ... to a man I don't love."  After she and André kiss, she leaves the museum, determined never to see her true love again.
Back home, Irene's suspicious husband reviews her daily activities through a private investigator he hired to follow her. The investigator only reports that she went to a local dog show and had an innocent encounter with Pierre Lassalle (Lew Ayres), the 18-year-old son of one of Charles' business associates. Later, Irene and Charles attend a large formal dinner party. She is surprised to see André, who arrives alone and sits at the dinner table across from Irene's sullen husband. Young Pierre is at the party too, and his father informs Irene that his college-bound boy is "quite mad" about her.  André and Irene do manage to meet briefly in a nearby garden, where André tells her he is moving to Paris and came to the party to see her one last time. They again express their love, kiss passionately and part, both resolved that their affair has ended. Irene then returns to the party to dance with lovestruck Pierre.
The following day, after a tennis match at his parents' estate, Pierre confesses his love to Irene while Charles meets with Pierre's father to discuss his failing business and need for money. Irene is touched by Pierre's confession but makes light of his ardor, referring to him as "only a young boy".  She agrees, however, to give him a photograph of herself that he can take to college. The following evening, Pierre visits Irene's home to get the promised photo, and as he leaves he requests a small goodbye kiss. Irene hesitates but gives him a short kiss, which incites Pierre to grab her and press for a more intense one. Returning home, Charles sees their follow-up kiss, storms into the room, and begins to beat Pierre mercilessly. As her husband pursues the college boy into another room, Irene pleads with him to stop his assault, but he continues to batter Pierre. The room's door closes; a muffled gunshot is heard. Charles dies.
Irene killed her husband to save Pierre, but before authorities are summoned, she alters the scene and timeline of the crime. To protect Pierre's reputation and herself, she tells the police her depressed husband committed suicide due to his dire finances. Investigators doubt her story and Irene is indicted for murder, prompting André to return to Lyon to defend his ex-lover. During the trial she repeatedly assures André that her husband killed himself. Courtroom testimony by Pierre's father about Charles' impending bankruptcy and "utter despair", along with André's heartfelt declarations of Irene's innocence, convince the jury to acquit her.  In the court area after the verdict, a smug Pierre tells Irene that her love for him compelled her to kill Charles, but he quickly realizes that André is her true love. Guilt-ridden for lying to André, Irene divulges the truth to him. Stunned, he sits and cradles his head in his hands, quietly reassessing his feelings. Believing she has destroyed her relationship with André, Irene is relieved when he finally stands and reaffirms his love for her. The film ends with them kissing just as three old cleaning women enter the room and announce they "have come to clean the court". 
Most film critics gave very positive reviews of The Kiss in 1929, a year in which American motion pictures were continuing their transition from the last major silent productions to the release of more sound films.  Variety alluded to that transition in its 1929 review of The Kiss, contending that the film would have likely suffered in quality if it had been released with recorded dialog. 
The film grossed $518,000 in the United States and $387,000 elsewhere, bringing its worldwide gross to $905,000; the profit for the film was $448,000. 
The publication felt that both Garbo's performance and her physical appearance in the film were actually enhanced by its silent format:
The Kiss, with an unusual taste exhibited in casting and direction, is entertainment of the holding kind. And it is one of Miss Garbo's best, without stretching the elastic of kindness. Though this is silent it may be stronger that way than with dialog ... Few actresses could weather the series of close-ups required of Miss Garbo in this one. In each she registers an individual perfection. The series proves her biggest asset is her naturalness. 
Film critic Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times referred to the presence of The Kiss among all the new talking pictures in late 1929 as "Golden silence" and a demonstration of Fedyer's "consummate artistry" with a non-talker.  "Miss Garbo", observed Hall, "once again reveals her extraordinary talent for screen acting, and under M. Fedyer's guidance she is if anything more impressive than she has been in other films."  The Film Daily —widely read by studio personnel and theater owners—also described Garbo as "very alluring" and "exotic" in The Kiss; but that paper found the "sophisticated drama" lacking, especially the film's conclusion.  "The subject matter", wrote The Film Daily, "is too tragic, and the ending not the type that the average fan looks for." 
Released less than 4 months after the disastrous crash of the American stock market in 1929, The Kiss was not expected to do well financially by attracting sizeable crowds of filmgoers in that highly unstable economic time.  The film, though, surprised studio executives by making a significant profit and becoming Garbo's second most successful silent picture, ranking only behind Flesh and the Devil with John Gilbert, which had been released three years earlier.  In Atlanta, Georgia, for example, it was reported that during Thanksgiving week The Kiss "broke all existing house records for receipts at Loew's Capitol [Theatre]". 
Seven decades after its initial release, The Kiss has been recognized as one of the notable portrayals of romance in cinematic history. In 2002, the American Film Institute placed the MGM classic on its list of 400 nominations in its "100 Years/100 Passions" poll to determine "America's Greatest Love Stories".  The movie enthusiasts or "jurors" who voted in that 2002 poll did not include The Kiss and various other silent productions in their final selection of 100 films. In fact, only four non-talkers— Way Down East (1920), Rudolph Valentino's The Sheik (1921), Sunrise (1927), and Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931)—were chosen for AFI's top 100 "Greatest Love Stories" list. 
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Queen Christina is a pre-Code Hollywood biographical film, produced for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1933 by Walter Wanger and directed by Rouben Mamoulian. It stars Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in their fourth and last film together.
Flesh and the Devil is an American silent romantic drama film released in 1927 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and stars Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Lars Hanson, and Barbara Kent, directed by Clarence Brown, and based on the novel The Undying Past by Hermann Sudermann.
Glorious Betsy is a 1928 silent film with talking sequences. It is based on the 1908 play of the same name by Rida Johnson Young, and it stars Dolores Costello. It was produced by Warner Bros. and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Adaptation in 1929. The film was directed by Alan Crosland with cinematography by Hal Mohr. A mute print of this film survives in the Library of Congress, and while the copy is missing some of the sound reels, it's unknown whether other copies of the sound have been preserved elsewhere. Vitaphone track survive incomplete at UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Nils Anton Alfhild Asther was a Swedish actor active in Hollywood from 1926 to the mid-1950s, known as "the male Greta Garbo". Between 1916 and 1963 he appeared in over seventy feature films, sixteen of which were produced in the silent era. He is mainly remembered today for two silent films – The Single Standard and Wild Orchids – he made with fellow Swede Greta Garbo, and his portrayal of the title character in the controversial pre-Code Frank Capra film The Bitter Tea of General Yen.
Anna Karenina is a 1935 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the 1877 novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and directed by Clarence Brown. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone, and Maureen O'Sullivan. There are several other film adaptations of the novel.
Anna Christie is a 1930 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pre-Code tragedy film adaptation of the 1921 play of the same name by Eugene O'Neill. It was adapted by Frances Marion, produced and directed by Clarence Brown with Paul Bern and Irving Thalberg as co-producers. The cinematography was by William H. Daniels, the art direction by Cedric Gibbons and the costume design by Adrian.
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Torrent is a 1926 American silent romantic drama film directed by an uncredited Monta Bell, based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and released on February 21, 1926. Torrent was the first American film starring Swedish actress Greta Garbo. The film also starred Ricardo Cortez and Martha Mattox.
The Mysterious Lady (1928) is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer silent film romantic drama, starring Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, and Gustav von Seyffertitz, directed by Fred Niblo, and based on the novel War in the Dark by Ludwig Wolff.
A Woman of Affairs is a 1928 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Lewis Stone. The film, released with a synchronized score and sound effects, was based on a 1924 best-selling novel by Michael Arlen, The Green Hat, which he adapted as a four-act stage play in 1925. The Green Hat was considered so daring in the United States that the movie did not allow any associations with it and was renamed A Woman of Affairs, with the characters also renamed to mollify the censors. In particular, the film script eliminated all references to heroin use, homosexuality and syphilis that were at the core of the tragedies involved.
The Single Standard is a 1929 American romantic drama film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer directed by veteran John S. Robertson and starring Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, and Johnny Mack Brown.
Wild Orchids is a 1929 American silent drama film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer directed by Sidney Franklin and starring Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone and Nils Asther. Only these three stars received cast credit. The plot is very similar to Garbo's later sound film, The Painted Veil (1934).
Redemption is a 1930 American pre-Code drama film directed by Fred Niblo, produced and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and starring John Gilbert. This production is Gilbert's first talking film, but it was not released until months after the premiere of His Glorious Night, his second "talkie". Redemption is based on the 1918 Broadway play of the same title by Arthur Hopkins, who in turn based his work on the play The Living Corpse by Leo Tolstoy and first staged in Moscow in 1911.