It Started with a Kiss is juvenile in a way that doesn’t exist anymore. The premise of the film is the fallout after a couple quickie marries after a single kiss. Now, the couple is having second thoughts. What follows next will make sense of the Battle of the Sexes. It’s enough to make your grandparents soft chuckle if you were allowed to visit them and watch movies together.
Glenn Ford is one of the quintessential Studio actors. That approachable yet matinee face coupled with an Everyman approach creates a slightly tougher Jimmy Stewart type. He’s not going to win over most romances, but you buy that women dig him. He can be anything from a military man to a farmer. Ford is the quintessential 1950s actor.
Debbie Reynolds is sweet. That’s all she needed to be for ages and she meets that need for most studio pictures. Naturally, the focus of the film is her instituting a month of celibacy at the start of their marriage. Reynolds is prim and demure. If things are going to last, then we need a young matronly figure to decide what is moral in the relationship. Since Glenn Ford is seen as a gentleman, he will agree.
Societal rules influenced everything in 1959. Why would It Started with a Kiss be any different? Did I mention that their relationship setup is controlled by the fate of a Lincoln Futura. Yeah, that’s right. The car that would become the 1960s Batmobile gets more serious screen consideration than Debbie Reynolds’ concerns about her quickie marriage. The 1950s were quite special. If you’re blowing a gasket, then head off elsewhere.
1950s Cinema evokes this great attempt at fighting the majestic in the world after World War II. It was the victory lap of the Greatest Generation after they saved humanity from the Nazis. Yet, like most generations after their peak…they figured out that they just want to maintain the status quo. No matter how revolutionary you think recent life is for you, it ultimately becomes tired.
Whether it’s a quickie marriage or a Futura car that a Matador wants to buy, they are all distractions. It Started with a Kiss was pretty ahead of its time in understanding the futility of having things. But, commercial materialism wasn’t the direct point of the film. It was just this creepy demon hiding underneath the celluloid of Ford and Reynolds batting eyes at each other. Even when the cinema was tepid, the truth was hanging at the edge of the reel.
MGM releases of the late 1950s were all over the place. If there has been one great thing to come out of these Warner Archive releases, it’s the fact that we’re all getting a film history lesson. It Started with a Kiss and other films like this are needed to make sense of the bigger pictures. All cinema is a cultural window into what a society dreamed of being, yet could barely fight back from their nightmares.
Warner Archive brings a Blu-ray with no special features. I’m not shocked, as we’re at a point in the deep library of titles where a lot of older movies aren’t going to have a ton of supplemental features. What matters is that Warner Archive is bringing the goods with the A/V Quality. The 1080p transfer shines in a way that shows off the luscious Cinemascope depth. Plus, that DTS-HD 2.0 mono track truly replicates that 1959 original audio. I’d recommend a purchase to classic cinema fans.