6.3/10
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Kismet (1955)

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

Directors:

Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Lederer (screenplay), Luther Davis (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Howard Keel ... Poet
Ann Blyth ... Marsinah
Dolores Gray ... Lalume
Vic Damone ... Caliph
Monty Woolley ... Omar
Sebastian Cabot ... Wazir
Jay C. Flippen ... Jawan
Mike Mazurki ... Chief Policeman
Jack Elam ... Hasan-Ben
Ted de Corsia ... Police Sub-altern
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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:

ECSTASY of Song Spectacle and Love! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un extraño en el paraíso See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,692,960 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,217,000, 31 December 1955

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,827,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)| Stereo

Color:

Color (photographed in) (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Howard Keel began his career on Broadway as a standby and/or understudy for the lead roles in understudy for "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel." He also essayed the role of Curly in the original London production of "Oklahoma!" See more »

Goofs

Prior to the start of "Not Since Nineveh", Dolores Gray takes the gold purse from the Wazir to throw coins. When she's finished, she tosses it back to Sebastian Cabot which the actor fumbles and drops at his feet. During the song, the bag disappears and reappears at times and ends up behind his feet. It finally disappears by the end of the dance. See more »

Quotes

Lalume: [singing] On days when my lord groweth restless / and bored with his sword and his plume. / His handmaiden hath what he needeth. / And what doth he need? Rahadlakum!
See more »

Connections

Version of Kismet (1914) See more »

Soundtracks

Rahadlakum
(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 Dolores Gray and Howard Keel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Songwriting Doesn't Get Better Than This
2 July 2009 | by bkoganbingSee 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.


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