Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||Arthur Freed|
|Written by||Luther Davis|
by Edward Knoblock
|Music by||Alexander Borodin|
Music supervised by
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Distributed by||Loew's, Inc.|
|December 23, 1955|
It is the fourth movie version of Kismet. The first Kismet was released in 1920, the second in 1930 by Warner Brothers, and the third, starring Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich, was released by MGM in 1944. 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 (Howard Keel) is abducted and brought to the desert tent of Jawan (Jay C. Flippen), 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.
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 (Sebastian Cabot) 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 (Dolores Gray), 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.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: