The Kiss

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 " a man I don't love." After she and André kiss, she leaves the museum, determined never to see her true love again.