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4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, that Dolores Gray!!
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...
Published on Oct. 3 2002

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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2.0 out of 5 stars Worth it only for Gray, Oct. 31 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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)   
This review is from: 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)   
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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
This review is from: 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great songs, great cast! You won't be disapointed, Aug. 20 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Kismet [Import] (VHS Tape)
Howard Keel, Ann Blyth and Sebastien Cabot are wonderful in this version of "Kismet." Delores Gray is simply magnificent as the sultry Lalume, and I just loved Vic Damone's lovestruck Caliph. The dialogue is witty and quite ahead of its time. Songs like "Stranger in Paradise," "Night of My Nights" and "Not Since Nineveh" are unforgettable. The costumes and sets, though not historically accurate, are lovely - the lavish wedding procession remains one of my favorite film scenes.
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