Run Time: 100:00 Final Format: DVD - NTSC Year: 1944
This Disc is formatted for all Regions and has CSS Copyright Protection (will not play in some laptops)
Aspect Ratio: 4 X 3 FULL FRAME, Original Aspect Ratio - 1.37 Audio: Mono 1.0 - English
Hafiz, the jovial King of Beggars, dons new garments and slips into the royal palace to woo his regal "Lady of the Moonlight." Meanwhile, Bagdad's new Caliph carries out his own masquerade, posing as a gardener's son and roaming the city...where he falls in love with a peasant girl who happens to be Hafiz's daughter. How will it all work out? It depends on the machinations of court intrigue and on fate - kismet. As Hafiz, Ronald Colman is up to his turban in mischief in this often-filmed bauble of storytelling that would later give rise to a famed stage and movie musical. Critics of the day lauded Kismet's Technicolor(r) virtuosity - not the least of which included gold-painted Marlene Dietrich in a sultry bit of terpsichore.
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NR (Not Rated)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story about the king of the beggars of Baghdad marrying off his daughter off to royalty is certainly popular in film. There are several silent versions: 1914, 1916, 1920, and of course the 1955 musical. However the only competition for this masterpiece was made in 1930, featuring that great queen of camp, Loretta Young, but is now a 'lost' film, so until a copy is found this one remains the undisputed masterpiece of the genre.
Ronald Colman plays Hafiz the great thief to perfection, including the extremely difficult task of balancing a turban the size of a small cupola on his head for the audience with the Grand Vizier that would have annihilated a less hardy specimen. As a matter of fact the costumes in this film are important enough to merit the treatment of a main character: They are so exquisitely ridiculous and the material so obviously synthetic, overwrought, clashing in color and style and so overwhelmingly kitsch that it is the DEFINITIVE example for the period...
"Kismet" is an Arabian Nights fantasy about Hafiz (Ronald Colman), a scheming beggar in the court of the Caliph (James Craig), who wins the hand of the dancing girl (Marlene Dietrich), the mistress of Mansur, the Grand Vizier (Edward Arnold). There are all sorts of palace intrigues going on, but Hafiz has an edge because knows magic. This 1944 film, directed by William Dieterle, cost $3,000,000, which was considered by many to be extravagant given the wartime shortages. "Kismet" had been filmed three times previously and while it is a luscious production, the main problem is, surprisingly enough, the two stars. Colman is not well suited to this particular role and Dietrich does not really have much to do besides dance and look good. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The musical version, featuring the song "Stranger in Paradise," was filmed in 1955. It is a toss-up as to which one is better.
One shouldn't be too hard on this piece of wartime diversion; after all, the nation was in total mobilization. Everythign was subject to the War Effort -- something we can hardly imagine now -- and people were working night and day for not much money, and it needed some fun. Though KISMET looks foolish to contemporary movie purists, this movie was a big hit at the time. It tantalized the nation into a frenzy.
Don't forget, this movie was made at a time of national rationing, and many shortages. Not only was gas rationed, but also rubber, food, light and energy in all forms. Everything that wasn't military and dedicated to the War Effort, was incredibly expensive. Hollywood suffered. There was a shortage of talent. There were virtually no young men anywhere in the country, certainly no photogenic ones, except possibly in prisons. That's why in this movie and in most of those produced in wartime, by most studios, most of the extras are old men. Even the secondary...
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