IMDb > The Inspector General (1949)
The Inspector General
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The Inspector General (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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The Inspector General -- Danny Kaye delivers a charming, talented and energetic performance with original songs written by his wife Sylvia Fine. The music score by Johnny Green won a Golden Globe award in 1950 for Best Motion Picture Score.

Overview

User Rating:
6.9/10   2,243 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Philip Rapp (screenplay) and
Harry Kurnitz (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Inspector General on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 December 1949 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
An illiterate stooge in a traveling medicine show wanders into a strange town and is picked up on a vagrancy charge... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Golden Globe. See more »
NewsDesk:
(7 articles)
Scandal Recap: Eiffel Tower of Terror
 (From TVLine.com. 16 October 2014, 7:44 PM, PDT)

"The Best Of The Danny Kaye Show" On DVD
 (From SneakPeek. 24 September 2014, 4:58 AM, PDT)

Patrick Cassavetti boards Lenin?!
 (From ScreenDaily. 23 June 2014, 4:26 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
"Be Elegant, Be Arrogant, Be Smart!!" See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Danny Kaye ... Georgi
Walter Slezak ... Yakov

Barbara Bates ... Leza

Elsa Lanchester ... Maria

Gene Lockhart ... The Mayor

Alan Hale ... Kovatch
Walter Catlett ... Colonel Castine

Rhys Williams ... Inspector General
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Benny Baker ... Telecki (uncredited)
Leonard Bremen ... Lieutenant (uncredited)
Robert Cherry ... Peasant (uncredited)
Frank Conlan ... OId Villager (uncredited)
Jimmy Conlin ... Turnkey (uncredited)
Helena Dare ... Townwoman (uncredited)
Bryn Davis ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
George Davis ... Ladislaus (uncredited)
Abe Dinovitch ... Peasant (uncredited)
Art Dupuis ... Sentry (uncredited)
Robert Filmer ... Sentry (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Burbis (uncredited)
Karen Hale ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
Lew Hearn ... Izzick (uncredited)
Sam Hearn ... Gizzick (uncredited)
Herbert Heywood ... Goatherd (uncredited)
Si Jenks ... Deaf Villager (uncredited)
Fred Kelsey ... Villager (uncredited)
Joleen King ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
Marc Krah ... Gypsy (uncredited)
Gracille LaVinder ... Townwoman (uncredited)

Norman Leavitt ... Lazlo (uncredited)
Ida Moore ... Old Villager (uncredited)
Jack Mower ... Villager (uncredited)
Alix Nagy ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... Viertel - the Woodchopper (uncredited)
Nestor Paiva ... Gregor (uncredited)
Barbara Pepper ... Buxom Villager (uncredited)
Joe Ploski ... Bela (uncredited)
Maudie Prickett ... Townwoman (uncredited)
Harry Raven ... Sentry (uncredited)
Buddy Roosevelt ... Sentry (uncredited)
Lester Sharpe ... Sentry (uncredited)
Pepi Sinoff ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Townsman (uncredited)
Joan Vohs ... Peasant Girl (uncredited)
Audrey Winn ... Councilman's Wife (uncredited)
Jeff York ... Guard (uncredited)

Directed by
Henry Koster 
 
Writing credits
Philip Rapp (screenplay) and
Harry Kurnitz (screenplay)

Nikolai Gogol (suggested by a play by)

Ben Hecht  uncredited

Produced by
Sylvia Fine .... associate producer
Jerry Wald .... producer
 
Original Music by
Johnny Green 
 
Cinematography by
Elwood Bredell (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Rudi Fehr 
 
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean 
 
Costume Design by
Travilla (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Frank McCoy .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Leonora Sabine .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Al Alleborn .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur Lueker .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Donald P. Desmond .... set constructor (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
C.A. Riggs .... sound
Treg Brown .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Edwin B. DuPar .... special effects (as Edwin DuPar)
 
Stunts
Bert LeBaron .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Saul Butner .... gaffer (uncredited)
George Gordon Nogle .... camera operator (uncredited)
Eugene Richee .... still photographer (uncredited)
Stanley Young .... grip (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Johnny Green .... musical director
 
Other crew
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Mitchell Kovaleski .... associate technicolor color director
Eugene Loring .... choreography
William J. Hole Jr. .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (A Warner Bros.-First National Picture)
Distributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
102 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:G | Canada:G (Ontario) | Finland:S | Iceland:L | Netherlands:AL (original rating) (1950) | USA:Approved (PCA #13361)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Near the beginning of the movie Leza (Barbara Bates) is tightening the corset of Maria (Elsa Lanchester. Maria demands that Leza tighten the corset more and Leza explains that it's already tight. After Maria leaves, another character comments that Leza was correct and the corset was too tight: "it makes her eyes bug out." This was an inside joke, since Elsa Lanchester's eyes were somewhat protuberant.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Georgi sees the twins together for the second time, the same shot is used from the first time he sees them. This is evident as the background is different (the fireplace should be in the background in the second shot and it is not) and there is a girl, on the left of screen in the close shot, who is not there in the longer shot.See more »
Quotes:
Georgi:[singing to himself on how to pull off the scam] Be arrogant, be elegant, be smart!See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Afsar (1950)See more »
Soundtrack:
Lonely HeartsSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
20 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
"Be Elegant, Be Arrogant, Be Smart!!", 30 April 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

Danny Kaye's films with Samuel Goldwyn established him as a leading movie comedian - singer from 1944 through the late 1940s. For a number of years after he continued his popularity without Goldwyn in films like "Knock on Wood", "The Court Jester" and "Merry Andrew". It is likely that "The Court Jester" is his best film, but "The Inspector General" is close to the top.

Based on a 19th Century satiric play by Nicolai Gogol, Kaye plays Georgi, a decent fellow who works for the bullying Yakov (Walter Slezak). Yakov and Georgi travel around the countryside selling "Yakov's elixir" which is supposed to cure all kinds of illnesses (that Kaye sings in a tongue-twisting song by Sylvia Fine, his wife). But they are forced to flee when Georgi tries to stop an elderly woman from wasting her money on the elixir. Naturally Yakov is upset, and sends Georgi away until he learns to be crooked. Yakov has been using a fake official document signed by Napoleon as a come on in his sales pitch. Georgi is carrying it. He is arrested by the town constable (Alan Hale Sr.) for vagrancy, but the latter reads the letter. As the Mayor (Gene Lockhart) and his cohorts are awaiting (with dread) a visit by Napoleon's Inspector General to check their records (they have been feathering their nests), they think that Georgi is this Inspector General. When Yakov comes to town he quickly grasps the situation, and pretends he is the "Inspector's" servant. Slezak knows that there are real opportunities here.

The funny thing is that Gogol's play is not quite like the film. First of all, Gogol was writing a critique of government corruption in the Russian Empire under Tsar Nicholas I (1825-1855). Gogol was a religious mystic and satirist (best recalled for his unfinished novel about serfdom, "Dead Souls", and his novellas "The Diary of a Madman" and "The Overcoat"). Normally Nicholas was a humorless despot, who hated intellectuals. But he liked THE INSPECTOR GENERAL, which attacked the worst aspects of Russian local government corruptions that the Tsar did want to see eradicated. Because he approved, the play was a great success, and became one of the few 19th Century plays that became part of the permanent world repertory.

But Gogol's targets were Russian, not French. Napoleon is not a background figure in the play. The Inspector General (actually the title is "The Government Inspector" in Russian) is from the Tsar. They have heard rumors of the corrupt practices, and are checking them. Georgi's character is not such a well-intentioned type in the play as he is in the movie. He is as willing to feather his nest as Yakob is, and they prove to be a highly successful team.

This is because the Mayor and his cohorts are quite willing to bribe their way out of the current investigation. This includes selling the Mayor's wife for sex, and paying out much in bribes and "gifts". And in the end, after "Georgi" and Yakob leave with their loot, the Mayor thinks he will be called to St. Petersburg for some really important post. But months later they hear of a letter circulating in the capital from "Georgi" boasting of how he fooled the Mayor and his cohorts. Then, just as things couldn't get worse, a servant announces the arrival of "a Government Inspector" to review the books. Everyone freezes in terror as the curtain falls.

The film softens "Georgi's" character, leaving Yakov as the greedy one (although Slezak does redeem himself at the end). The Mayor and his cohorts (who do things like collecting for a church bell but pocketing the money themselves) do try to kill off the Inspector General - there is a funny sequence at a party where "Georgi" sings a song about "sing Gypsy, dance Gypsy", and keeps on just avoiding drinking his doctored drink during the song. Georgi's guardian angel protects him. He also meets Leza, a servant (Barbara Bates) and falls for her. He debates how to appear before her as a General - should he be elegant like an Englishman, arrogant like a Russian, or smart like a German. In some ways "Soliloquy for Three heads" may be the best of the numbers in the film.

Although watered down from Gogol's stunning comic play, enough entertainment value remains in the film to make it worthwhile viewing, and a highpoint in appreciating Kaye's movie career.

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