The Kiss in the Tunnel

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The Kiss in the Tunnel
Screencap from the film
Directed byGeorge Albert Smith
Produced byGeorge Albert Smith
StarringLaura Bayley
George Albert Smith
CinematographyGeorge Albert Smith
Release date
  • September 1899 (1899-09)
Running time
1 min 3 secs
CountryUnited Kingdom
A Kiss in the Tunnel

The Kiss in the Tunnel, also known as A Kiss in the Tunnel, is a 1899 film British short silent comedy film, produced and directed by George Albert Smith, showing a couple sharing a brief kiss as their train passes through a tunnel, which is said to mark the beginnings of narrative editing.[1][2] The film is the first to feature Laura Bayley, Smith's wife.

The director, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, "felt that some extra spice was called for," in the then-popular 'phantom ride' genre, which featured shots taken from the front of a moving train, "and devised a shot showing a brief, almost furtive moment of passion between two passengers, taking advantage of the brief onset of darkness." Just this middle shot was offered by The Warwick Trading Company to exhibitors, who were advised, "to splice it into train footage," such as Cecil Hepworth's View from an Engine Front - Train Leaving Tunnel (1899), "that they almost certainly would own from previous programmes".[3][4]

This insertion of a single shot into another film indicates, according to film historian Frank Gray, "a new understanding of continuity film editing," which "would have a profound impact on the development of editing strategies and become a dominant practice."[1]

Regarding the film itself, Screenonline reviewer Michael Brooke points out that "the lighting here is totally unrealistic - we can see everything that's going on," and, "no attempt has been made at realism in the setting - the "carriage is very obviously a painted flat that has been decorated with various props: luggage, parasols and so on, though the camera has been made to sway from side to side to create the illusion of movement."[3][4]

The film was remade under the same title by Bamforth and Company the same year, although they, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, "adopted a rather less stylised and noticeably more passionate approach to the brief encounter of the title;"[3] other imitations include S. Lubin's Love in a Railroad Train (1902) and Edwin S. Porter's What Happened in the Tunnel (1903).[2]


  1. ^ a b Gray, Frank (2009), "The Kiss in the Tunnel (1899), G.A. Smith and the Rise of the Edited Film in England", in Grieveson, Lee; Kramer, Peter (eds.), The Silent Cinema Reader, Routledge (published 2004), ISBN 0415252849
  2. ^ a b Klein, Amanda Ann (2011). American Film Cycles: Reframing Genres, Screening Social Problems, and Defining Subcultures. University of Texas Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-292-74275-8.
  3. ^ a b c Brooke, Michael. "The Kiss in the Tunnel". BFI Screenonline Database. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b Fisher, David. "The Kiss in the Tunnel". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2011.

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