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Kismet (1944)

Passed | | Adventure, Fantasy | October 1944 (USA)
In ancient Bagdad, Hafiz is a beggar - self coined the King of Beggars - and a master of the slight of hand. He often likes to wander the streets late at night pretending to be a Prince, ... See full summary »

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

John Meehan (screenplay), Edward Knoblock (play)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ronald Colman ... Hafiz
Marlene Dietrich ... Jamilla
James Craig ... Caliph
Edward Arnold ... The Grand Vizier
Hugh Herbert ... Feisal
Joy Page ... Marsinah (as Joy Ann Page)
Florence Bates ... Karsha
Harry Davenport ... Agha
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Moolah
Robert Warwick ... Alfife
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Storyline

In ancient Bagdad, Hafiz is a beggar - self coined the King of Beggars - and a master of the slight of hand. He often likes to wander the streets late at night pretending to be a Prince, specifically of Hassir located in the farthest reaches of the empire. In the process, he has entered into a passionate romance with a beautiful woman, Jamilla. He is unaware that she is one of the queens of the Grand Vizier - the most powerful man in the empire - to who she was provided in a power deal with Macedonia, the deal agreed to by Jamilla only under the condition that she retain her independence. In turn, Jamilla knows that her lover is not who he says he is, she, however, not having any idea that he is mere street beggar. She doesn't mind his lies as they are a means to escape into a fantasy world away from the reality of life with the Grand Vizier. At home, Hafiz has told his daughter, Marsinah, since she was a child that she would marry a prince, rather than the reality of she probably ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's Technicolor Glamor Romance

Genres:

Adventure | Fantasy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oriental Dream See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Life Magazine reported that Marlene Dietrich had her legs painted with four coats of gold paint, and her hair sprinkled with powdered gold for her exotic dance number. See more »

Goofs

In the bazaar scene about 40 minutes in, a red macaw, a bird of South America, is seen on a perch. It would not be in Baghdad in the days of the Arabian Nights. See more »

Quotes

Karsha: [Referring to Hafiz's daughter, Marsinah] You think she's going to wither away waiting for your fairy tales to come true?
Hafiz: She's waiting for her fate in all its splendor.
Karsha: The fate for a beggar's daughter is a camel boy.
Hafiz: Silence, misery!
See more »

Connections

Version of Kismet (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Willow in the Wind
(1944) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Sung by Joy Page (dubbed by Doreen Tryden) and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Handsomely photographed light entertainment...
27 January 2002 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I've always felt that the technicolor used in the 1940s constituted some of the best color photography ever seen on film. KISMET is no exception. The color is ravishing, with pastel hues for the sets and costumes in interior scenes and ranks with the best color cinematography of any of the '40s films.

Unfortunately, the vehicle itself is weak and Ronald Colman is not the most suitable choice for the role of the scheming beggar. I admire Colman and he uses his speaking voice to marvelous effect but it's hard to see any chemistry between him and Marlene Dietrich, nor does he seem agile enough in the role. She plays the seductive charmer with all of the glamour she is noted for, including a sensuous dance with her famous gams painted gold. Too bad she wasn't given more screen time since hers is the film's most interesting performance.

James Craig had some decent roles in the '40s but here he is totally bland and colorless as the prince that Colman's daughter is in love with--only she knows him as a common gardener. The improbable plot is a thin one but made bearable by the exquisite photography, busy musical background score and some good character actors. Edward Arnold has a major villainous supporting role and seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself.

In my opinion, the '55 musical remake with Howard Keel in the Colman part showed us just how good the role of the beggar could have been if Colman played it more tongue-in-cheek. Keel was more physically right for the role, as well. Unfortunately, Colman always looked on the verge of middle-age in most of his roles, no matter how early the films were!

Trivia: this KISMET was nominated for four Academy Awards: color cinematography, art direction, background score and sound recording. If the Best Costume category had been recognized then, it no doubt would have been nominated in that category too.


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