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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 »
Edit

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)
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

The word kismet comes from the Arabic word kismat, meaning "division, portion, lot". Basically, it means your fate or your destiny. It was Hajj's destiny to succeed. 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 (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Night of My Nights
(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 Vic Damone and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

The splendor is hollow...a pale version of the Broadway hit...
31 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

It's as if someone took a shredder and put the script and the songs through it, leaving just a patchwork of odd scraps and pieces that are good--a case where the sum is not as good as the parts. The once beautiful score lacks the musical treatment given it in the stage version--and even the wonderful Howard Keel can't compensate for the shortcomings. He seems to be play-acting all the way through, forcing himself to overcome the weak script and playing the role so broadly he might as well be playing to the third balcony.

The cast tries hard but somehow nothing seems to jell. Even the fine singing voices of Ann Blythe and Vic Damone can do little to make "Stranger in Paradise" seem more than a routine number, as awkwardly staged as it is. The other songs based on the classical Borodin themes are lackluster in performance--surprising in view of the fact that this is an MGM musical. Dolores Gray has some good moments but Monty Woolley is wasted.

Vincente Minnelli's direction is less than inspired. Lavish and gaudy as the production is, it has a stagebound look that it never overcomes. Considering all the talent involved, this is a ho-hum project indeed!

According to reliable reports, Minnelli detested the assignment. He had seen the Broadway show and thought it corny and witless. He had no enthusiasm while making the film and it finished shooting in a quick two months without all the retakes he usually required. The hastiness shows in the finished product.

According to Stephen Harvey's book, "Directed by Vincente Minnelli", when the film was previewed one of the viewers gushed, "This is as good as Lana Turner's pictures!"


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