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Kismet (1955)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Musical, Fantasy  |  8 October 1955 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 918 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 19 critic

A roguish poet is given the run of the scheming Wazir's harem while pretending to help him usurp the young caliph.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(non-musical play "Kismet"), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Kismet (1955)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Monty Woolley ...
Omar
...
...
Jawan
...
Chief Policeman
...
Hassan-Ben
...
Police subaltern
Reiko Sato ...
1st Princess of Ababu
Patricia Dunn ...
2nd Princess of Ababu
Wonci Lui ...
3rd Princess of Ababu
Julie Robinson ...
Zubbediya
Edit

Storyline

Like a tale spun by Scheherazade, Kismet follows the remarkable and repeated changes of fortune that engulf a poor poet. It all happens in one incredible day when Kismet (Fate) takes a hand. Written by Betty Frayne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

FAMED STAGE HIT GLORIFIED ON THE SCREEN! [poster - all caps] See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Um Estranho no Paraíso  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,692,960 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)|

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The orange seller (the man who Hajj (Howard Keel) holds down and calls the "father of none and son of many") is played by Jamie Farr best known for his role as Corporal Klinger in the TV show "M.A.S.H". See more »

Quotes

Caliph Guard: [closing lines] Is this man to be pardoned, O Caliph?
Omar: Pardon him, All Highest. His crime was a service. Let him go free.
The Poet: No, don't ask that. Under the circumstances it would embarrass the All Highest to pardon his father-in-law. No, O Prince of Justice, let me help you to compose this most difficult of verdicts against a man who in his life never once did right and who never once wronged anyone. Condemn the scoundrel to some dreadful oasis at least a week's camel's journey away. Force him to ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dostana (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Olive Tree
(uncredited)
Music by Aleksandr Borodin
Music Adapted by Bob Wright (as Robert Wright) and Chet Forrest (as George Forrest)
Lyrics by Bob Wright (as Robert Wright) and Chet Forrest (as George Forrest)
Sung by Howard Keel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Songwriting Doesn't Get Better Than This
2 July 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Given the times we're in and the changing public tastes in music, I'm not sure how well a revival of Kismet as a Broadway show would do today. Certainly the music of Alexander Borodin remains timeless, but a show with an Arabian Nights setting, I'm not sure would go over so well right now.

The Broadway show with Alfred Drake, Doretta Morrow, Richard Kiley, and Joan Diener ran for 583 performances in the 1953-54 season and won a Tony Award. As none of those worthy performers were movie names, Arthur Freed recast the film with MGM players Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Vic Damone, and Dolores Gray and I've sure got no complaints about any one of them.

But Kismet has an older an more varied history. It was first presented on Broadway as a straight dramatic play in 1911, written by Edward Knoblauch and providing a career role as Hajj the beggar king for Otis Skinner. He must have done the role a gazillion times on Broadway and in touring companies.

Skinner even did two films, a silent and early sound version that I believe are both lost. It then got a film version with Ronald Colman as Hajj and it co-starred Marlene Dietrich, James Craig and Joy Page. Colman spoke the lines in the inimitable Colman fashion, but the music score that Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg wrote was singularly bland.

Nothing bland about the themes of Alexander Borodin which Robert Wright and Chet Forrest arranged and wrote lyrics for to provide a far better musical score. Two songs, Strangers In Paradise and Baubles Bangles And Beads were chart toppers in the first half of the Fifties. I well remember as a child hearing both played on the radio a lot.

The plot of the story centers around the nimble tongued Keel as Hajj who gets himself involved in palace politics with the Wazir/Prime Minister of the old Caliphate of Bagdad played by Sebastian Cabot and his wife Dolores Gray who's taken a real fancy to Keel. At the same time the Caliph on one of his nocturnal wanderings of legend has fallen for Keel's daughter Ann Blyth. The Caliph is played by Vic Damone. Both plot elements come together for an inevitable conclusion which I think you can figure out.

Vincente Minnelli did a great directing this old chestnut, impeccably cast with great musical performers. Songwriting because of who inspired it, doesn't get any better than this.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Mario Lanza instead of Vic Damone MusicalFreak84
Keel gives an Oscar worthy performance oldsenior
Dolores Gray was a dynamic performer oldsenior
goof? writer's mistake? nonchee-1
Kismet on Blu-Ray tnsprin-2
What a Great musical soundtrack.... borodinrodin
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