1955 Motion Picture Soundtrack

Kismet [1955 Soundtrack] [Rhino Bonus Tracks]

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When MGM Pictures released its movie adaptation of the stage musical Kismet in 1955, an 11-track soundtrack LP was issued simultaneously by MGM Records. Thirty-five years later, with the MGM film library having changed ownership, CBS Special Products put out an expanded version of the soundtrack album that didn't just add some bonus tracks, but instead went back to the film track for a selection of songs, underscoring, and dialogue amounting to nearly 63 minutes from the movie's 113-minute running time. Six years on from that, with the MGM film library acquired by Turner, which in turn has made a deal with reissue specialist Rhino for a new series of soundtrack albums, producers George Feltenstein and Bradley Flanagan have gone back even further for what might be considered the Kismet soundtrack 3.0: they had access to the original sound elements, including unused material. So, this nearly 72-minute version of the soundtrack dispenses with the dialogue, bringing the underscoring out more clearly, and adds music that hit the cutting room floor. That includes one song, the excellent "Rhymes Have I," featured in the Broadway score, but not in the film, and a longer version of another, "Rahadlakum," with lyrics that might have been considered too risqué in the 1950s. Lacking the dialogue and boasting far superior sound, this version is to be preferred over the CBS Special Products album. Even with the improvements, however, the album still lacks two songs heard on Broadway, since they simply never were part of the film and weren't even recorded. Typically, Hollywood excised songs sung by minor characters, in this case "Was I Wazir?" and "He's in Love," while adding a new number for one of the stars, "Bored," sung by Dolores Gray. Thus, the soundtrack to Kismet still remains inferior to the Original Broadway Cast album, despite boasting an unusually strong-voiced cast itself, led by Howard Keel and including Vic Damone (who got to sing "Stranger in Paradise") and Ann Blyth ("Baubles, Bangles and Beads"). ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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