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HISTORY

A news item announcing a production of Kismet to be filmed by the California Motion Picture Co. appeared in NYDM in Feb 1916. In that announcement, Herbert Brenon was mentioned as the director and Otis Skinner was to be the star. Evidence indicates that this production was never made, although the film was cited in the MPSD for both Brenon and Skinner as late as 1918. The California Motion Picture Co. ceased production in 1916. The 1920 production was announced in mid-1919, and later news items consistently called the 1920 film the motion picture debut of eminent stage actor Otis Skinner. Early news items variously mention David G. Fischer or Dustin Farnum as proposed directors of the film, but it appears that neither actually participated in the film after production began.
       Skinner created the role of Hajj on the stage and played the part throughout the country for several years. After completion and the subsequent release of the 1920 Kismet , Skinner announced that he would never again play the role; however, he made a sound version of the story, recreating his original role, in 1930, directed by John Francis Dillon and co-starring Loretta Young.
       Other film adaptations of the story include a German-language, First National release made in 1930, directed by William Dieterle and starring Gustav Fröhlich (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1931-40 ); a 1944 Warner Bros. film, also directed by Dieterle, and starring Ronald Colman (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 , and a 1955 by M-G-M production directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Howard Keel. The last ... More Less

A news item announcing a production of Kismet to be filmed by the California Motion Picture Co. appeared in NYDM in Feb 1916. In that announcement, Herbert Brenon was mentioned as the director and Otis Skinner was to be the star. Evidence indicates that this production was never made, although the film was cited in the MPSD for both Brenon and Skinner as late as 1918. The California Motion Picture Co. ceased production in 1916. The 1920 production was announced in mid-1919, and later news items consistently called the 1920 film the motion picture debut of eminent stage actor Otis Skinner. Early news items variously mention David G. Fischer or Dustin Farnum as proposed directors of the film, but it appears that neither actually participated in the film after production began.
       Skinner created the role of Hajj on the stage and played the part throughout the country for several years. After completion and the subsequent release of the 1920 Kismet , Skinner announced that he would never again play the role; however, he made a sound version of the story, recreating his original role, in 1930, directed by John Francis Dillon and co-starring Loretta Young.
       Other film adaptations of the story include a German-language, First National release made in 1930, directed by William Dieterle and starring Gustav Fröhlich (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1931-40 ); a 1944 Warner Bros. film, also directed by Dieterle, and starring Ronald Colman (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 , and a 1955 by M-G-M production directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Howard Keel. The last version was a musical based on a successful Broadway show. Cornelia Skinner, who plays Miskah, was Otis Skinner's daughter. She became better known as both an actress and author as Cornelia Otis Skinner. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
11 Dec 20
pp. 124-25.
Film Daily
31 Oct 1920.
---
MPN
6 Nov 20
p. 3621.
MPW
6 Nov 20
p. 112.
MPW
17 Apr 20
p. 3397.
New York Morning Telegraph
21 Nov 1920.
---
New York Times
15 Nov 20
p. 12.
NYDM
26 Feb 20
p. 26.
Variety
29 Oct 1920
p. 40.
Wid's
31 Oct 20
p. 3.
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 November 1920
Copyright Claimant:
Robertson-Cole Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 November 1920
Copyright Number:
LP16920
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the course of a single day, Arabian beggar Hajj cheats and robs, tries to kill the Caliph, is imprisoned for his crimes, and escapes from the dungeon. Later, Hajj saves his daughter from becoming a member of the harem of a wazir, whom he then drowns. Finally, after being banished, Hajj decides to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and falls asleep on the steps of the same mosque where he awoke that ... +


In the course of a single day, Arabian beggar Hajj cheats and robs, tries to kill the Caliph, is imprisoned for his crimes, and escapes from the dungeon. Later, Hajj saves his daughter from becoming a member of the harem of a wazir, whom he then drowns. Finally, after being banished, Hajj decides to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and falls asleep on the steps of the same mosque where he awoke that morning. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.