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
It's hard for me to believe that I saw many of these old M.G.M. musicals when they first came out when I was a teenager. I first saw Kismet with my cousin and sister in Jackson, Mississippi, and we loved it! I don't like repeating myself, but just because a Broadway star is in a hit musical on Broadway doesn't necessarily mean that they are good movie material. They just don't have the following in the movies to support a movie such as movies like Kismet, Hello Dolly, Gypsy, and Kiss Me, Kate which is considered a better movie than it was a Broadway show.
Kismet is glorious entertainment. Howard Keel is perfect as Hajj the Beggar and even though Ann Blyth was too old to be his daughter, you forgive that problem in casting. She never sang better and Vic Damone was great as the Prince. Thankfully, the songs "He's in Love" and "Was I Wazir" was cut from the film, but sadly, even though it was recorded and filmed "Rhymes Have I" was deleted from the movie. This should not have been. Maybe, some day, someone will restore this number in future Videos of Kismet.
You could not have cast anyone better than Delores Gray as Lalume, and the addition of her song "Bored" [not in the original play on Broadway] shows you don't have to be naked and obscene on the screen to get sex across to the audience as she sings her song and nearly seduces Howard Keel right on the spot, and could that woman sing!
The wonderful thing about this movie is that a Broadway orchestra can't bring out the wonderful music as it is really meant to be heard like a movie orchestra can. For the first time you hear all the music in its richest melodies and Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Vic Damone, and Delores Gray are thousands time better in their performances than the broadway cast could ever be. "And This is My Beloved" is a much better version in the movie than the Broadway rendition which was much too operatic.
I remember that my cousin Margaret looked at me after Howard Keel sang "The Olive Tree" and she said that if her father ever looked at her the way Howard Keel looked at Ann Blyth, she'd run like hell. Let's face it! Any Blyth was old enough to be his lover and not his daughter, but you forgive the producers for the miscast, because as a whole the film is not miscast, but perfect!
It's just a shame that these films can't be seen on the large theater screens today with stereophonic sound the way they "should" be seen. Maybe, someday, someone will get the hint!
Kismet was and is glorious, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
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