Adventure / Fantasy / Musical

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 49%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1433

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 07, 2021 at 05:58 AM



Ted de Corsia as Police Sub-altern
Mike Mazurki as Chief Policeman
Jay C. Flippen as Jawan
Howard Keel as Poet
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.01 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S 6 / 32
2.09 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 7 / 10

Soft Simmering Breeze...Petals in the pool drifting....

KISMET was originally a play by Edward Knobloch written about 1910, and used as a vehicle for many years by the popular Broadway character actor Otis Skinner, playing the role of Hajj, the philosophical thief who saves the Caliph of Baghdad. Skinner even did a silent film version of the play. Two years after his death in 1942 a sound version of the film (in color) was made starring Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, and Edward Arnold. The movie was a success, but nobody realized it would shortly become extremely successful in a new way. A song writing team (Bob Wright and Chet Forrest) constructed a score for KISMET based on the melodies of Alexander Borodin. The score contained such songs that became standards as STRANGER IN PARADISE (from the "Polevetsian Dances" in the opera PRINCE IGOR), BAUBLES, BANGLES, and BEADS, THIS IS MY BELOVED, THIS WAS THE NIGHT OF MY LIFE, and others. Wright and Forrest would do this several times on Broadway (they composed reset themes by Heitor Villa Lobos in another musical, for example) but KISMET was their joint masterpiece. So successful were they at rejuvenating the old Knobloch play, it was eventually revived again in the late 1990s in a new form as TIMBUCTOO (reset from the Califate of Baghdad to the great African trade city).

Eventually the musical came to the attention to the Freed unit at MGM, and Vincent Minelli was chosen to direct this 1955 version. The musical expanded on the play a little. Howard Keel (as Hajj - the name was restored to the original one, not Hafiz as Ronald Colman was named in the 1944 version) is involved at the beginning with Jay C. Flippen as a violent bandit leader who is seeking his son, and whom Hajj suggests will be found in Baghdad. We see Flippen from time to time looking for his missing son. In the end he does find the son (who lives up or down to Flippen's own reputation).

Keel had the right voice for Hajj, as did Dolores Gray as Lalume, the Vizier's bored wife (Dietrich in the 1944 film). Ann Blyth played Hajj's daughter Marsinah (who falls for the Caliph, Vic Damone). The evil vizier was played by Sebastian Cabot, and his rival government figure Omar (played by Harry Davenport in the 1944 film) is now played by Monty Wooley, in his final major movie part.

Actually the musical is livelier than it's critical history suggests. The old creaky play may turn off many critics, but it had some color, and the Borodin-inspired melodies raised it. But like BRIGADOON, Minelli could not shoot the film on location as it would have been incredibly expensive. Possibly the studio sets may have effected how the film was received by the critics. But it is entertaining, and (because of the music) very memorable. If some numbers were cut most of the big numbers were saved. Besides, I'd rather hear Keel sing A FOOL SAT BENEATH AN OLIVE TREE than hear Cabot (a questionable singing talent) try WAS I VIZIR. I don't think Sebastian Cabot even tried to sing once on FAMILY AFFAIR...his was a distinguished speaking voice, not a singing one.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Songwriting Doesn't Get Better Than This

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.

Reviewed by inyourimage 9 / 10

This musical is so underrated!

If you want a classic movie that is exotic, romantic and even hypnotic, Kismet fits the bill. Set in ancient Baghdad, Kismet gives us a much different perspective than we have today (even if it is a movie set). First and foremost, it gives us that classic duet, 'Stranger in Paradise.' Second, it stars Howard Keel. Third, the romanticized Arabesque cinematography is superb. A 50's-style romantic 'Arabian Nights' setting sets the stage for a comedic/dramatic romance/love story in the tradition of ancient fable akin to Alladin and the Magic Lamp. Even the fact that almost everyone in the movie is a white person painted dark gives it a bygone sentimental appeal. I wish this movie were more available, particularly on DVD. It represents Howard Keel at his best in a role that is a departure from his usual venue.

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