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Kismet


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, James Craig, Edward Arnold, Hugh Herbert
  • Directors: William Dieterle
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: May 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0035RYRY0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,840 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kismet" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

While I really like Ronald Colman, this film has too many slow spots along the way.
R. Ginocchio
Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich are great actors and I would recommend this flick to anyone who, like me, love old movies and film noir.
G. W. Meador
Colman makes repeated statements about the magnificence of his daughter, and the shame is that his boasts would be completely unfounded.
Linda McDonnell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alberto M. Barral on August 17, 2009
Format: DVD
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 and genre. Nothing like this has been since before or since, thank God. Although the film is in color you could swear they had color blind designers working you will see dangerous combinations of color never since surpassed; emerald green and magenta, scarlet and deep blue, saffron orange and mustard yellow....these are just some samplings but you have to add the swimming pools/fountains in every corner shining in acid-sapphire, the elaborate Formica lattice work of the harem walls, the spectacular shine of gold plated plastic jewelry....it is a thousand nightmares of design wrapped neatly into one movie, to be treasured forever. This is not a movie to rent, you have to BUY this film and watch it several times to appreciate it in detail.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
"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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Josef Bush on March 28, 2009
Format: VHS Tape
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 characters here, are old. There were virtually no available stars: Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, both were in uniform, along with all the best or top drawer American leading men. Ronald Raegan was notoriously civilian, and only wore uniform in OSS propaganda movies advising boys on ways to avoid giving away strategic information, or getting VD. And so, in this movie the men are old, the costumes with one exception are dull; the scenery has been rescued from back lot storage and carpentered together from earlier pieces from other exotic films. The story itself was a resurrection of an Edwardian hit and vehicle for Otis Skinner, KISMET, that played on stage for decades and spawned many versions on stage and screen.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Linda McDonnell on October 11, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Well, I don't usually say this, but I agree with review karen kullers, who really pans this film--it really isn't a good picture at all. It should have been, though, with Colman as a beggar pretending to be a prince, Dietrich as a harem lady, and Edward Arnold as the wily villain.
You can also tell it was an expensive movie, with costly sets and costumes, but it is ineptly directed and negligently cast in its supporting roles. Colman makes repeated statements about the magnificence of his daughter, and the shame is that his boasts would be completely unfounded. The daughter is played by the same actress who appears in "Casablanca" as the young wife that Claude Rains almost seduces in exchange for transporting her and her husband to safety. She is really not much to write home about. A sweet-looking girl in some shots, but without any star appeal at all. She struck me as the REALLY poor man's Linda Darnell. And the caliph, her lover who disguises himself as a gardener's son, has no bearing and no talent to boot. He isn't even handsome.
Ronald Colman has long stretches where he doesn't encounter the other two talented stars, but must instead interact with the bad supporting cast. This strain is too much to be borne. Marlene Dietrich turns in possibly the worst performance of her career. And as for the gold paint on her legs, I thought that missed by about a mile. Her legs looked heavy and dirty consequently--and the choreography looked like it was for a WPA mural. Only Edward Arnold made out okay (he even looked slimmer, thanks to the unusual tailoring), but the final climactic grappling with Colman drew hoots from me and the other watchers, one of whom remarked that it looked like two fathers-in-law fighting at a wedding reception. Very undignified and unconvincing.
Perhaps my brother said it best: "TutorGal, this ought to teach you--there are no forgotten masterpieces."
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