Kismet (1955 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Written by||Edward Knoblock
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan|
|October 8, 1955|
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 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.
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 with a mysterious beau (actually the Caliph) 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, but there the Caliph sees her and believes her to be a wife of the Wazir. At a ceremony planned to choose a new bride, the Poet tricks the Wazir and drowns him in front of the Caliph and the crowd.
The Wazir is still alive, however, and the palace guards capture the Poet. He 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.
- 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.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.