Kismet (1955) 720p

Movie Poster
Kismet (1955) bluray - Movie Poster
Adventure | Fantasy
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
113 min
IMDB Rating:
6.3 / 10 
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Directors: Vincente Minnelli [Director] ,

Movie Description:
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. —Betty Frayne


  • Kismet (1955) bluray - Movie Scene 1
  • Kismet (1955) bluray - Movie Scene 2
  • Kismet (1955) bluray - Movie Scene 1

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So non-PC and so delicious

I'm ashamed to admit how much I love this movie musical because it is such a load of claptrap! I think these days we all take a somewhat jaundiced view of any historical depiction of Arabs as romantic and exotic characters, given modern middle-eastern conflicts and world-wide terrorism. And the references to hareems and female slaves are so non-PC! The superficial way caucasian actors appear as other races is so Hollywood! The colourful gauzy veils, bare midriffs etc on the women are a bit of a joke when you consider the way many Arab women in fact dress, in smothering opaque clothing! Let me try and forget all this and imagine it's a depiction of another planet, and with that premise I love the colourful clothing, exotic settings, comic characters and lively script. Howard Keel is great as always, and Dolores Gray owns the picture while she is on screen. Ann Blyth does her usual thing with charm and Vic Damone is pleasant if milque-toast. The better-known songs are just wonderful. My secret fantasy is to imagine Mario Lanza as the Caliph, delivering the romantic songs, he would have looked the part and knocked the vocals out of the park! Alas not to be as MGM had fallen out with Lanza by then.This aside, the movie is 113 minutes of sheer enjoyment for me. It's movie cotton-candy, delish while you know it's rotting your teeth.

A lack of fate

Kismet is not the best of the MGM musicals, the songs sound plain bad to modern ears and hence a reason why the musicals died a celluloid death. Even the story and direction is heavy handed with little fun injected.

Howard Keel plays the opportunistic poet and beggar Hajj in old Baghdad. His daughter Marsinah falls for the young Caliph who is wandering in the market in disguise as a commoner.

Hajj gets mistaken as man who has the power to inflict curses and rewind them which brings him to the attention of the powerful Wazir who wants the Caliph to marry someone else.

The directing and scenery in Kismet is pedestrian, you would not even think that this was directed by Vincente Minnelli. The film also has an unfortunate mix of the middle east and far east, one of the dance sequences at the end was more Thai influenced.


While not up there with the classic film musicals, Kismet is one of the underrated ones. The complaints that some have for the film are understandable, the script apart from some deliciously witty moments(mainly from Keel and Gray) is somewhat weak and is swamped by everything else, Vincente Minelli's direction at times is cold and hasty- which comes through loud and clear in Gesticulate, very indifferently directed and the weakest song in the film too- and while youthful and suave Vic Damone is rather bland as an actor. There is much to recommend though. The production values are the very meaning of lavish and look gorgeous, the locations and photography are very exotic and who cannot love Delores Gray's outfits. The choreography is spirited and seductive as well as clever and generally tasteful(Not Since Ninevah stands out), and the story is charming enough, a little silly but hardly a bore. There are no complaints to be had with the songs and score, the score is lush and the songs, based on the music of Borodin with clever lyrics, apart from Gesticulate are wonderful. Stranger in Paradise, And This is My Beloved, The Olive Tree and Baubles, Bangles and Beads are the highlights, though Night of My Nights is also lovely. It is a shame about the absence of Was I Wazir? though, though you can sort of understand why it was omitted. The cast are good, Dolores Gray steals the show as a deliciously sultry Lalume, Rahadlakum is a show-stopper. Howard Keel clearly is having the time of his life in his role as Hajj, if at times playing it a little too on the broad side, his beautiful rich voice still sounds great and is one of those voices that is difficult to be tired of. Ann Blyth is too old but is still utterly beguiling and sings beautifully, especially in Baubles, Bangles and Beads and And This is My Beloved. Sebastian Cabot is wonderfully wicked with a touch of buffoonery, though I've always preferred his more distinguished style of acting. All in all, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but well worth seeing, especially for the production values, the songs, Keel and Gray. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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