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The satirical bite of Gogol's play The Government Inspector is dispensed with in favor of traditional Danny Kaye buffoonery in The Inspector General. Kaye plays the illiterate stooge of two-bit medicine-show- entrepreneur Walter Slezak. Abandoned by Slezak, the starving Kaye wanders into a corruption-ridden Russian village, which is all geared up for a visit from the Inspector General. Mistaking Kaye for that selfsame royal inspector, the townsfolk fawn on the confused Kaye, granting him his every whim and plying him with all sorts of bribes. In the original Gogol play, the boorish phony inspector takes advantage of the villagers' error by laying waste to the town and seducing a few local maidens; in the film, Kaye is as pure as the driven borscht, as is his true love (Barbara Bates), the only honest person in town. The treachery is in the hands of Slezak, who fakes Kaye's death and tries to blackmail the crooked local officials. The deus-ex-machina arrival of the real Inspector General foils the crooks and places the nonplused Kaye in the job of town mayor. Those of you who read the play in college may remember it ends with everyone frozen in horror when the genuine inspector shows up, with Gogol's stage directions insisting that the actors hold their fearful poses for a full sixty seconds. Be assured that in the film version of Inspector General, nothing stands still--least of all Danny Kaye, who cuts quite a swath through several Sylvia Fine/Johnny Mercer specialty songs. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
a pretty amusing film. Danny Kaye's quirky antics are definitely the highlight. can't say the music did much for me, but the overall story was entertaining and the comedic timing was top-notch. not overly outstanding, but it's still an underrated classic.
Danny Kaye is in top form here. His enthusiasm has no limits, and this is one of the prime showcases for the performer at his spirited, entertaining best. How I wish I could have known this man. Thank you, Danny Kaye.
Danny Kayes greatest comic performance. After being a disaster of an assistant to a gypsy hoaxing people into buying fake elixer, Georgi (Kaye) is set off on his own and mistakenly thought to be the Inspector General. Fearing for their lives, the towns politicians scramble to cover up evidence and offer every accomodation to the thought to be Inspector. On the other side Georgi fears for his life and tries to excape from the town.