Kismet (1955 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Written by||Edward Knoblock
|Editing by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Release dates||October 8, 1955|
|Running time||103 minutes|
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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2008)|
In old Baghdad, an impoverished poet goes to the marketplace to sell his rhymes for food. Because the Poet has set up shop in a spot usually reserved for a man named Hajj, some men kidnap the Poet and take him to the desert tent of Jawan, an elderly thief. Jawan, assuming that the Poet is Hajj, orders him to reverse the curse Hajj put on him fifteen years ago, which led to the kidnapping of Jawan's beloved son. 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, a huge procession welcomes Lalume, favorite wife of the Wazir, back from Ababu. The King of Ababu is willing to give the Wazir a badly needed loan if the Wazir arranges for one of his three daughters to marry the young Caliph. Meanwhile, the Caliph, who has been traveling incognito, sees the Poet's daughter, Marsinah, and is immediately attracted to her. Marsinah falls in love with the Caliph, too, but she thinks he is a gardener. They arrange to meet in the garden that night.
The Poet returns to Baghdad and begins spending his hundred gold pieces; then, the Wazir arrests the Poet because his purse carries the insignia of a wealthy family that was robbed. At the Wazir's court, Lalume is impressed with the Poet's looks and gift for words, and lets him defend himself against the charge of robbery. The Poet does, 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. The Wazir, fearing that this puts his loan from the king of Ababu in jeopardy, and fearing that the Poet's curse had something to do with it, takes Lalume's advice: they will make the Poet an Emir if he reverses the curse. The Poet happily accepts, and when the Wazir leaves him alone with Lalume, the two realize they have similar temperaments.
Hearing the noise of the Caliph's wedding procession, and annoyed that the curse has not been reversed, the Wazir confines the Poet to the palace. The Poet orchestrates an elaborate "curse-reversal" scheme that enables him to sneak out; he finds his daughter 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 procession—they flee. Word spreads that the Caliph's bride was not there when the Caliph came to claim her. Since the "curse reversal" seemed to have worked, the Poet leaves Marsinah and returns to the palace.
The Wazir wants to kill the Poet because he believes he has dangerous supernatural powers, but Lalume convinces her husband to keep the Poet in the palace and use his power. 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.
Meanwhile, the Caliph's men search Baghdad for Marsinah, and the Wazir suggest that the Caliph marry the three princesses and take pleasure in the harem. When the two men see Marsinah in the harem, the Wazir is shocked that the Caliph's intended bride is in his own palace, happy that she cannot, therefore, marry the Caliph. The Wazir tells Marsinah that she must marry him; and the disappointed Caliph must take another bride that night. 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. In revenge, he performs a trick that results in Wazir being held underwater in a pool. As the Wazir struggles, the Poet asks the Caliph what sentence should be given to a murderer and torturer who also cost him his bride. The Caliph answers "death," after which the Poet says the sentence has been carried out, then flees.
The Wazir is still alive, however, and his guards capture the Poet and sentence him to death. Lalume saves the day by explaining everything to the Caliph. 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.
- Howard Keel as The Poet
- Ann Blyth as Marsinah
- Dolores Gray as Lalume
- Vic Damone as The Caliph
- Monty Woolley as Omar
- Sebastian Cabot as The Wazir
- Jay C. Flippen as Jawan
- Mike Mazurki as The Chief policeman
- Jack Elam as Hasan-Ben
- Ted de Corsia as Police sub-altern
- Reiko Sato as 1st Princess of Ababu
- Patricia Dunn as 2nd Princess of Ababu
- Wonci Lui as 3rd Princess of Ababu
- Barrie Chase as Harem Girl
- Julie Robinson as Zubbediya
- Nita Bieber as Samaris
- Jamie Farr as Merchant
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. (Could it be a loss of $1,188,000? Budget of $3,015,000 minus revenue of $1,827,000 gives me a loss of $1,188,000.) 
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.