film (kismet)(1955) - American musical film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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Kismet (1955 film) - Wikipedia
Kismet (1955) is an American musical film in Cinemascope and Eastman Color released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is the fourth movie version of Kismet—the ...
Plot · ‎Cast · ‎Reception · ‎See also
Kismet (1955) is an American musical film in Cinemascope and Eastman Color released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is the fourth movie version of Kismet—the first was released in 1920 and the second in 1930 by Warner Brothers—and the second released by MGM. The 1955 film is based on the successful 1953 musical Kismet, while the three earlier versions are based on the original 1911 play by Edward Knoblock.


In old Baghdad, an impoverished poet is abducted and brought to the desert tent of Jawan, an elderly thief, having been mistaken for a man who cursed Jawan fifteen years ago. As a result of the curse, Jawan's beloved son was kidnapped, and Jawan longs to find him again before he dies. The Poet asks for one hundred gold pieces to reverse the curse; Jawan agrees, and returns to Baghdad to look for his son.
In Baghdad, the Poet's daughter, Marsinah meets and falls in love with the young Caliph, who has been traveling incognito. They arrange to meet again that night.
The Poet is arrested when he begins spending his hundred gold pieces because his purse carries the insignia of a wealthy family that was robbed. At the Wazir's court, he defends himself against the charge of robbery, but also curses the Wazir. Jawan, brought before the Wazir on another charge, angrily confirms the Poet's story, and then notices a familiar amulet around the Wazir's neck. In this way, Jawan discovers his long-lost son.
The Caliph announces that he plans to take a bride that night, discomforting the Wazir, who has a badly needed loan riding on persuading the Caliph to marry a princess of Ababu. The Wazir, fearing that the Poet's curse had something to do with it, offers to make the Poet an Emir if he reverses the curse. The Poet happily accepts, and when the Wazir leaves him alone with his favorite wife Lalume, the two realize they have similar temperaments.
The Poet orchestrates an elaborate "curse-reversal" scheme that enables him to sneak out of the palace; he finds Marsinah and convinces her that he will be killed unless they flee Baghdad. Despite Marsinah's protests—she wants to wait for her rendezvous and see the Caliph's wedding procession—they flee. Word spreads that the Caliph's bride was not there when the Caliph came to claim her. Since the "curse reversal" seems to have worked, the Poet leaves Marsinah and returns to the palace.
The Poet tells Lalume that he is worried about Marsinah, and Lalume suggests that she come to live in the palace. Marsinah arrives and confesses that she has fallen in love but does not know her beloved's name. Lalume hides Marsinah in the harem for her own protection, but there the Caliph sees her and believes her to be a wife of the Wazir. When the Wazir privately congratulates the Poet on bringing the Caliph's true love into the Wazir's own harem, the Poet realizes that the Caliph is Marsinah's beloved.
At a ceremony planned to choose a new bride, the Poet tricks the Wazir and (almost) drowns him in front of the Caliph and the crowd. The Poet is sentenced to death, but Lalume saves the day as Marsinah is revealed to be the Poet's daughter and the victim of the Wazir's scheming. The Caliph sentences the Wazir to death and the Poet to exile. The Poet agrees, but asks to take the soon-to-be-widowed Lalume with him. Thus the Poet weds Lalume and the Caliph weds Marsinah—all in the course of a single day.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,217,000 in the US and Canada and $610,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $2,252,000.[2]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


Stranger In Paradise - Kismet

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Kismet Poster

Kismet (1955) - IMDb
Rating: 6.4/10 - ‎1,069 votes
Adventure · A roguish poet is given the run of the scheming Wazir's harem while pretending to ... 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival Adds More Movies, Stars & Frank Capra's The Donovan Affair (1929) To Lineup 13 March 2013 5:48 PM, -05:00 ...
A roguish poet is given the run of the scheming Wazir's harem while pretending to help him usurp the young caliph.


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »


, , | See full cast & crew »


Complete credited cast:
Howard Keel ...
Ann Blyth ...
Dolores Gray ...
Vic Damone ...
Monty Woolley ...
Sebastian Cabot ...
Jay C. Flippen ...
Mike Mazurki ...
Chief Policeman
Jack Elam ...
Ted de Corsia ...
Police Sub-altern


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


ECSTASY of Song Spectacle and Love! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 December 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un extraño en el paraíso  »

Box Office


$2,692,960 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)|


(photographed in) (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alfred Drake won the 1954 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Musical for "Kismet" as the Public Poet. See more »


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 »


Caliph Guard: [closing lines] Is this man to be pardoned, O Caliph?
Omar: Pardon him, All Highest. His crime was a service. Let him go free.
Poet: No, don't ask that. Under the circumstances it would embarrass the All Highest to pardon his father-in-law. O, Prince of Justice, let me help you to compose this most difficult of verdicts against a man who in his life never once did right and who never once wronged anyone. Condemn the scoundrel to some dreadful oasis at least a week's camel journey away. Force him to take ...
See more »


Featured in MGM Parade: Episode #1.14 (1955) See more »


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 Howard Keel and chorus
See more »

User Reviews

Soft Simmering Breeze...Petals in the pool drifting....
23 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews
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.

Kismet 1955 Trailer - YouTube
Jun 10, 2011 - Uploaded by Paul Waters
Trailer to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayers 1955 musical Kismet.

Kismet (1955) -
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