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June 3, 2022

Gene Kelly’s Cigarette Kiss Scene in ‎‘The Pirate’ (1948)

It’s worth the rental price just to watch the scene where Gene Kelly dips a woman, swallows his cigarette for a kiss and then chews it back up to exhale the smoke.

It’s the true test of a leading man: when you can make blowing smoke into a woman’s face into something hilariously funny. He pitches the comedy to the point where you can get all the Barrymore and Fairbanks in-jokes and still enjoy him as a sexy lead in his own right.

“Did you really smoke cigarettes or was that just pretend?” – Darren Walsh, a boy from Belfast, Ireland asked Gene Kelly in an interview in 1991. “Yes, I really smoked. We really didn’t know what cigarettes would cause in those days. I’m lucky now because I stopped twenty years ago.”


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