AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Director: Wilhelm Dieterle (Dir)
Release Date:   1931
Premiere Information:   Berlin opening: 23 Jun 1931
Production Date:   began Nov 1930
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Gustav Fröhlich    
    Dita Parlo    
    Vladimir Sokoloff    
    Anton Pointner    
    Karl Etlinger    

Summary: [The following plot summary is based on the English-language version of this film, Kismet ; character names refer to that version.] Hajj, beggar and thief, schemes with a guide to obtain gold from the famous bandit, the White Sheik, who is searching for his long-lost son; but Hajj recognizes the White Sheik as his enemy, Jawan, and refuses the guide his share; and the guide has Hajj arrested. Mansur, the Wazir of Police, offers Hajj the choice of losing his hand and his daughter, Marsinah, or assassinating the caliph. Saved from Hajj's dagger by his coat of mail, the caliph sends the beggar to prison, where he encounters Jawan, kills his enemy, exchanges clothing, and is released. Hajj is soon again in Mansur's clutches for trying to spirit his daughter from the wazir's harem, but Hajj kills Mansur (Jawan's son) just as the caliph enters. Rather than receiving further punishment, Hajj is released--for the caliph, who has disguised himself as his gardener's son, is about to marry Marsinah. 

Production Company: First National Pictures, Inc. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.)
Distribution Company: First National Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Wilhelm Dieterle (Dir)
Writer: Howard Estabrook (Scr)
  Ulrich Steindorff (Scr)
  Karl Etlinger (Scr)
Photography: Sid Hickox (Photog)
Country: United States
Language: German

Source Text: Based on the play Kismet by Edward Knoblock (New York, 25 Dec 1911).
Authors: Edward Knoblock

Physical Properties: Sd:

Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Arabian
Subjects (Major): Assassination
  Family relationships

Note: This was a German-language version of the 1930 film Kismet , which was directed by John Francis Dillon and starred Otis Skinner and Loretta Young. Other films based on the play include the 1920 Waldorf Film Corp. production, which was directed by Louis J. Gasnier and also starred Otis Skinner, with Rosemary Theby; a 1944 M-G-M production, with songs by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, which was also directed by Wilhelm Dieterle and starred Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich; and a 1955 M-G-M musical, based on the Broadway musical by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis. The latter film was directed by Vincente Minnelli and starred Howard Keel and Ann Blyth. 

Display Movie Summary
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.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.