Cast & Crew
Louis J. Gasnier
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.
Louis J. Gasnier
A news item announcing a production of Kismet to be filmed by the California Motion Picture Co. appeared in New York Dramatic Mirror in February 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.