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5.0 out of 5 stars KISMET [1955] [Blu-ray] [US Import]
KISMET [1955] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Famed Stage Hit Glorified On The Screen!

With Alexander Borodins soaring music fashioned by Robert Wright and George Forrest into Stranger in Paradise, Baubles, Bangles and Beads and even more evergreens, `Kismet' turned the Broadway stage into a glittering, gleaming Arabian Nights' dream. It is ideal material, in fact for...
Published 3 months ago by Andrew C. Miller

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Politically Incorrect, But Funny
Howard Keel at his comical, baritone best, leads a cast of entertainers who were at the height of their popularity in this colorful, sparkling musical.
He plays Hajj, the slick beggar-poet of Baghdad, who with his daughter Marsinah, played by Ann-Blyth who seems too old for the part although her singing is lovely, barely ekes out a living until one day their...
Published on Jan. 29 2002 by Deborah Earle


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5.0 out of 5 stars KISMET [1955] [Blu-ray] [US Import], Jan. 6 2015
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: KISMET (Blu-ray)
KISMET [1955] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Famed Stage Hit Glorified On The Screen!

With Alexander Borodins soaring music fashioned by Robert Wright and George Forrest into Stranger in Paradise, Baubles, Bangles and Beads and even more evergreens, `Kismet' turned the Broadway stage into a glittering, gleaming Arabian Nights' dream. It is ideal material, in fact for the Hollywood dream factory. To Hollywood and director Vincente Minnelli, `Kismet' is all about making desires come ture.

The lavish musical follows one fateful, fabulous day as a beggar-poet [Howard Keel] and his daughter [Ann Blyth] cross paths with a wicked wazir [Sebastian Cabot], a wily temptress [Dolores Gray], a handsome prince [Vic Damone], a magical curse, opulent sets and exotic adventure. "Princes come, princes go," sings the beggar. Glorious `Kismet' endures!

Cast: Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Dolores Gray, Vic Damone, Monty Woolley, Sebastian Cabot, Jay C. Flippen, Mike Mazurki, Jack Elam, Ted de Corsia, Reiko Sato, Patricia Dunn, Wonci Lui, Barrie Chase, Julie Robinson, Nita Bieber and Jamie Farr

Director: Vincente Minnelli

Producers: Arthur Freed and Stanley Donen [fill-in director]

Screenplay: Charles Lederer and Luther Davis

Composers: André Previn and Conrad Salinger

Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg

Video Resolution: 1080p [Eastman Color]

Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 113 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Archive Collection

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: 'Kismet' was a big flop when it was shown in the cinemas, earning $1.8 million against a $3 million production cost, one of a handful of costly financial failures for the studio that year 'It's Always Fair Weather,' 'Jupiter's Darling' and 'Hit the Deck' all lost money, though 'Kismet' appears to have been the biggest financial loser. Previously filmed twice by Warner Bros., first as a 1920 silent film then as a 1930 early talkie, and then by M-G-M with better success in 1944, its Arabian Nights-type romance this time is an adaptation of the popular 1953 Broadway stage musical.

`Kismet' [1955] is an American musical film in CinemaScope and Eastman Color released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is the fourth film version of `Kismet' and the first was released in 1920 and the second in 1930 by Warner Brothers and the second released by M-G-M. Again, this 1955 film is based on the successful 1953 Broadway stage musical `Kismet' and this version of not at all bad, but it pales when compared to M-G-M's run of great 1950s musicals: `Royal Wedding,' `An American in Paris,' `Singin' in the Rain,' `The Band Wagon,' `Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' etc. Virtually nothing about the film stands out. The cast is serviceable but everyone seems slightly miscast; the songs offer clever lyrics but generally aren't memorable; there are no outstanding dance numbers; the sets are colourful but the action within them is blandly photographed. It may be the only M-G-M musical where the costumes far outshine the musical numbers.

Warner Archive Collection's Blu-ray of `Kismet' as filmed in CinemaScope and Eastman Color, looks about as good as it's ever going to get. The colour is bright and the image is as sharp as the limitations of early "scope" lenses will allow, while the 5.1 sound remix is robust. Included is a big batch of extra features, though many of these are disappointing as they source dated, technically inferior video masters.

In an only-in-Hollywood-imagined Baghdad, a Beggar Poet [Howard Keel] is kidnapped, whisked out into the desert and taken before brigand Jawan [Jay C. Flippen] where Jawan mistaking the Poet for rival beggar named Haji, demands that a curse placed upon him 15 years before be lifted, a curse that separated the thief from a beloved son. The Poet, unable to convince Jawan that he's not Haji, finally agrees to reverse the curse, for which Jawan pays the Poet 100 pieces of gold.

Meanwhile, the Caliph [Vic Damone] is seen wandering the city incognito with adviser Omar [Monty Woolley], where he meets the Poet's daughter, Marsinah [Ann Blyth]. With her mistaking him for a gardener, the two falls instantly in love but are soon separated. Elsewhere, the evil Wazir of Police [Sebastian Cabot] and favoured wife Lalume [Dolores Grey] plot to instead have the Caliph marry one (or perhaps all three) princesses of the King of Abadu.

The Poet returns to Baghdad a rich man but is just as quickly arrested as a thief as the gold turns out to have been stolen. However, the Poet convinces the none-too-bright Wazir that he, the Poet, is a magician to avoid getting one of his hands chopped off. Further, Lalume is impressed by the Poet's ability to fool her foolish husband. But can the Poet escape the Wazir's determination to execute him, and thwart his efforts to stand between the Caliph and Marsinah's True Love?

Produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente Minnelli, 'Kismet' plays much like a filmed stage performance, partly because of its faithfulness to the original Broadway source more than most M-G-M musicals (`On the Town' for instance), and despite several obvious concessions to the strict Production Code, and probably also because of the limitation of early CinemaScope. For instance, Joseph Ruttenberg's cinematography is completely dominated by wide and medium shots with few close-ups, but also there's a dearth of purely cinematic moments. The movie version clearly could have used some Thief of Bagdad-type doses of all-out fantasy. The entire film was shot on the M-G-M lot. Even the desert scenes were obviously filmed there, with painted sky backdrops for all the exterior scenes, aided by a few matte shots. Much of this is effectively done, but other than obvious lavishness there is little to distinguish 'Kismet' from other films of this type.

The songs by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from music by Alexander Borodin (most famously "Stranger in Paradise"), are clever in terms of their lyrics, but few stand out; scenes from 'Kismet' aren't prominently featured in any of M-G-M's later That's Entertainment! film compilations.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'Kismet' looks even better than when I saw it at the cinema, especially in terms of vibrant colours that are so vivid and the image is totally awesome and very sharp. This Blu-ray presentation is probably the best `Kismet' has ever looked, and perhaps ever will. It gives a rich encoded 1080p image that made you feel like you wanted to be part of the film and especially of the film set of 'Kismet.'

Blu-ray Audio Quality – It's not clear if this was originally released in the original four-track magnetic stereo or merely with Perspecta Stereophonic Sound, but the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is robust and was a very enjoyable experience and brought out the best sound ever. English subtitles are offered.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Oscar® Nominated Short: The Battle of Gettysburg (though not sure why it's here, unless it played some of its engagements with the film `Kismet'). Leslie Nielsen does a good narration, but to be perfectly honest, the quality was absolutely atrocious, as the whole image was really jerky all the time and in the end I had to give up; as it was doing my eye sight no good and made me also feel nausea. To be honest, the BBC could have done a far more professional documentary. So to me this was a complete waste of an extra, especially as it was only in standard definition.

Classic Cartoon: The First Bad Man: Much funnier (even funnier than Kismet's supporting casting) is a cartoon about the prehistorically deep history of Texas that represents Tex Avery at his best. Again, why is it here, especially again it was only presented in standard definition.

2 Excerpts from The MGM Parade TV Series: Two excerpts from the MGM Parade TV show reveal George Murphy and Howard Keel talking up the picture, with clips, but again this was again only presented in the standard definition.

Outtake Song "Rhymes Have I" [Audio-Only] The audio only bonus of a deleted song called "Rhymes Have I" is presented very well; especially as it has a nice colourful poster image on the screen, and in a very sharp poster like background.

Theatrical Trailers: The 1955 ‘Kismet’ trailer stresses sex and hanky-panky at all times, even though the Code keeps everything in the film on such a hands-off basis. The 1944 ‘Kismet’ [4:3] trailer has been included as well. As we can see, it could use some of that inspirational Borodin music, but Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich make a far more exotic couple.

Finally, it's a great thing that the Warner Archive Collection is now releasing Blu-rays with selected titles. The price should certainly get the attention of collectors, who are now finding that many desirable vintage titles are sold only in limited editions. And whenever I see a choice musical arrive on a Blu-ray disc, I detect the guidance of a certain well known respected WB home video executive, is behind the decision. Seeing Dolores Gray's dazzling "sparkling" smile here in HD, I'm hoping that the Warner Archive will release a Blu-ray of the wonderful `It's Always Fair Weather.' But despite a lot of critics giving `Kismet' meagre reviews, I personally loved this film and so proud to add it to my Blu-ray Collection, as it is a glorious Technicolor Arabian journey and I know you will get a lot of enjoyment out of this Classic Hollywood Musical and has loads of marvellous memorable classic songs, that I forgot how good they were. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C, Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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2.0 out of 5 stars Worth it only for Gray, Oct. 31 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
This Vincente Minnelli has acquired a somewhat bewildering reputation almost solely because it was one of the few M-G-M musicals the fantastic Dolores Gray ever appeared in. She does have a wonderful number here in her iconic "Not Since Nineveh," where she really lets loose, but the rest of this film is so inferior you'll see almost immediately why M-G-M made so few major musicals after this disappointment. Almost everyone is miscast, even to Howard Keel who seems to be really enjoying himself immensely as Hajj even though he (and almost everyone else in the film) doesn't look in the slightest Middle Eastern. Nor does anyone else in the film, from the largely wasted here but still breathtakingly beautiful Ann Blyth to Sebastian Cabot harrumphing around as the Wazir. The only one who does is Vic Damone, who is about the worst actor ever (despite his lovely rendition of "The Night of My Life").
Worst of all, this edition from Turner Classics doesn't even bother to letterbox the Cinemascope compositions, so even despite the terribly distracting panning-and-scanning you can't see very easily who's talking to whom. This is best forgotten (unless you want to see the one number with Gray in all her oomphy glory).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, that Dolores Gray!!, Oct. 3 2002
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
While this MGMer of the Broadway musical is somewhat of a mixed bag, it certainly has some things to recommend, not the least of which is the fabulous Dolores Gray in all her magnificent glory. She is the real thing if ever there was one, and she steals this film without even trying. Her rendition of "Not Since Ninevah" is thrilling, and it's one of the best vocal performances committed to film. She wipes the floor with Howard Keel in "Rahadlakum", and you can't take your eyes off of her even when she's just a background participant. The score is one of the oddest in Broadway history but, nevertheless, it's filled with both charming and energized songs, especially the afore-mentioned numbers with Gray and the classics "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" and "Stranger in Paradise". Keel is perfectly cast in the lead, and Ann Blyth offers a more brittle intensity than the usual MGM musical chorines - she deserved more of MGM's attention. The direction of Vicente Minnelli is, unfortunately, completely uninspired, as is the design of the whole production. It almost does in the wonderful cast, but there's nothing that can stop the formidable Miss Gray. One wishes her film career was more significant, but the movie musical was in it's death throes at the time. Still, "Kismet" stands as a lasting tribute to her authoritative genius. Don't underestimate HER.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Politically Incorrect, But Funny, Jan. 29 2002
By 
Deborah Earle (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
Howard Keel at his comical, baritone best, leads a cast of entertainers who were at the height of their popularity in this colorful, sparkling musical.
He plays Hajj, the slick beggar-poet of Baghdad, who with his daughter Marsinah, played by Ann-Blyth who seems too old for the part although her singing is lovely, barely ekes out a living until one day their fortunes suddenly begin to change in a case of mistaken identity.
The casting of Delores Gray as the sultry siren, Lalume, is reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich in a similar role in the 1944 version of " Kismet". But it evokes the question, " How many blondes is one likely to find in Baghdad?" Her delivery of the bouncy, exotic " Not Since Nineveh" and of the kicky "Rahadlakume" make up for this politiclly incorrect oversight.
Sebastian Cabot as the villain who tries to keep the two younger lovers, the Caliph and Marsinah apart,is cold, aristocratic, and cunning.
As the Caliph, Vic Damone seems out of place but nails his duets of "Stranger in Paradise" and " And This Is My Beloved" with Ann Blyth, and leads the ringing chorus of " Night of My Nights" with eager and youthful adroitness.
While I question the accuracy in the portrayal of Ancient Baghdad, the comedy is pretty consistant, the romance passionate,
the costumes and musical score a feast for the eye and ear.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, uninspired adaptation of Broadway Musical., June 9 1999
By 
A. Andersen (Bellows Falls, VT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
This is the fourth film version of a reliable 1911 comedy chestnut first made famous on stage by actor/manager Otis Skinner (and filmed twice with him in the lead - as a 1920 silent and as a 1930 early experimental wide-screen talkie). The lavish and opulent 1944 MGM version with Colman and Dietrich is the third and best version. This fourth adaptation is that of the highly successful 1953 musical version. It lumbered across the CinemaScope screen like a dying elephant under Minnelli's leaden direction and Keel is allowed to go over the top in his manic portrayal. Add to this the fact that Vic Damone is totally miscast and can't act and all you have is a pretty visual with some beautiful music that not even Ann Blyth in the role of the ingenue and Delores Gray as the seductive Lalume can save. Watch this as an artifact - it was the death knell of the MGM musical. (MGM only produced one more successful one - GIGI). Try to catch a stage version and do visit the cast albums (both original and Lincoln Center revival) to hear how it "ought to be done."
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5.0 out of 5 stars a fabulous fantasy, Nov. 8 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
I've seen this musical countless times...it's always entertaining, and my appreciation for the performances increases with each viewing. Vocally and as a screen presence Howard Keel is superb, Ann Blyth and Vic Damone wonderful as the young lovers, and Dolores Gray sings up a storm and steals every scene she's in...her Lalume is sensational.
The sets and costumes are rich, colorful and imaginitive, and Jack Cole's choreography is terrific. The "Not Since Ninevah" number is a favorite...a big band jazz version of a Balinese dance. Robert Wright and George Forrest adapted the lovely music from themes by Borodin, and added some clever lyrics, but it's Keel and Gray that make this an irresistible treat.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great old musical, April 12 2001
By 
Byron Kolln (the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
After their success in 1954's ROSE MARIE, Howard Keel and Ann Blyth were re-teamed for 1955's KISMET, a charming tale based on the Broadway hit with songs derived from musical movements by Borodin.
They are joined by Dolores Gray and Vic Damone, who add the sex and comedy to this tale of a vagabond con-man and his lovely daughter.
Blyth is charming in her "Baubles Bangles and Beads", and in duet with Damone in "Stranger In Paradise". Gray lends her considerable vocal talents to "Not Since Nineveh" and "Bored".
Expertly directed by Vincente Minnelli and featuring stunning costumes and sets, KISMET is a lavish feast for the ear and eye.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired and slow musical., Aug. 18 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
The best things about this movie are the impressing scenery and costumes. Unfortunately, most of the musical numbers are rather forgettable and too many and they make the movie very slow so you lose interest.
An otherwise good director, Vincente Minelli, and some good actresses (Ann Blyth and Dolores Gray) can't compensate the too slow story. The movie also feels too much as filmed theater. It sure has some fine scenes, like the wedding procession and some of the dance sequences, but as a whole, the movie feels uninspired and isn't entertaining enough. I suggest you spend your money on some other movie instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great feel good movie. Wish it was on DVD, May 2 2003
By 
"zannedjinmonet" (Manchester, KY United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
I love this movie!
I grew up watching it repeatedly, with my mother (Ann Blyth look-a-like, and same hair style) singing these songs, while dancing around the room, sometimes joined by my father, so I can't say that I ever really paid any attention to how silly the movie itself was. :)
I love their versions of those classic songs better than any I've heard done by the correct kind of people, but I could have some bias.
Anyway, watching it still makes me laugh, dance alittle, and sing, but the VHS is rather awful in quality. I truely hope this film is transfered with better care to DVD format soon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the Howard Keel fan..., Dec 26 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
I can't believe that this was Keel's last MGM role in a musical, and that so few people have heard of it. He saves the film. The actor for the Calif is worse than a bad school production, and Marsinah seems a bit old. The music, however, is catchy and fun....and it should be, most the songs (most obviously "Stranger in Paradise") are a direct rip off of the Classical composer Borodin. Proper credit is givin to him, but most wouldn't pay attention to that. It's a sad day when classic musicals couldn't come up with their own score. Even with all this, it's a cute movie, and worth having.
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