starring Otis Skinner, Rosemary Theby and Elinor Fair
February, 1921

"Kismet" is redeemed by Otis Skinner. Bringing to the screen the beggar, Hajj, which he has created on the stage for so long a time, Otis Skinner's every movement is a joy to behold, his innate grace of bearing and his subtle interpretations of the emotions cause his scenes to stand forth with an artistic radiance. And, fortunately, he appears in many scenes.

Really, "Kismet" should need no redemption -- it should have suggested purples and silvers and rose and gold in a setting of amber -- instead it suggested a theatric Bagdad and now and then it creaked and lumbered.

The story is that which Edward Knoblock dramatized from the Arabian Nights, and Gasnier has produced it for the silversheet. Too, a few hours reference work would have obliterated the errors in the manners and customs of the distant East which it now contains and which strip it of any reality whatsoever for those who are familiar with that part of the Orient in which the action is laid.

Everyone knows the story of Hajj, the beggar who enjoys the purple for one day, who schemes and plans for his daughter to marry one in high authority. Incidentally, the man he chooses has been in love with his daughter for some time, wooing hr over her garden wall in the guise of the gardener's son. In the end the daughter goes tot he palace and Hajj returns to his begging stone outside the temple.

Rosemary Theby plays the favored lady of the harem, and Elinor Fair, Marsinah, the daughter of Hajj; Nicholas Dunrer and Herschel Mayall too are entrusted with important roles, but it is Otis Skinner's characterization only which you take from the theater with you. He shines forth as a gem in a dull setting.

Return to reviews page