36 user 8 critic

The Inspector General (1949)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 31 December 1949 (USA)
A town's corrupt officials think a fool is actually an investigator in disguise.


Henry Koster


Philip Rapp (screenplay), Harry Kurnitz (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Danny Kaye ... Georgi
Walter Slezak ... Yakov
Barbara Bates ... Leza
Elsa Lanchester ... Maria
Gene Lockhart ... The Mayor
Alan Hale ... Kovatch
Walter Catlett ... Col. Castine
Rhys Williams ... Inspector General


An illiterate stooge in a traveling medicine show wanders into a strange town and is picked up on a vagrancy charge. The town's corrupt officials mistake him for the inspector general whom they think is traveling in disguise. Fearing he will discover they've been pocketing tax money, they make several bungled attempts to kill him. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Kaye way to chaos and corruption.


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Nikolay Gogol's play, "The Inspector General" opened in St. Petersburg, Russia. in April 1836. See more »


When Yakov first reads the note from Leza we can see it says "They are trying to kill you. Don't go near the barn." Later, when the woodchopper reads it he says "Don't go near the barn. They are trying to kill you." See more »


The Mayor: Your Excellency - he took bribes, he drank all my wine, he-he-he yelled out the windows, he even made love to my wife! How could... How could I doubt that he was an Inspector General?
See more »


Version of Afsar (1950) See more »


Soliloquy for Three Heads
(1949) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Sylvia Fine
Performed by Danny Kaye
See more »

User Reviews

Good, funny -- but much gallows humor
16 March 2004 | by brower8See all my reviews

Danny Kaye steals the show as 'Georgi' in this Gogol comedy set somewhere in eastern Europe at some time in the 19th century that spoofs the gullibility of the masses and the venality of rulers. Kaye plays an illiterate toady of a medicine-show operator who is confused with the Emperor's "Inspector General" who is charged with the duty to root out all corruption in any village to which he is sent. The venal mayor and his coterie of dishonest city bosses are scared out of their wits as they seek to cover up their corruption from the all-knowing imperial emissary. Corrupt as they are, and scared of the consequences of being exposed, they expose Georgi (Kaye) to every peril possible -- including having to drink some of "Yakov's Golden elixir" that his boss Yakov (Walter Slezak) vends to unsuspecting suckers. He survives every danger, including bad advice from those who exploit his illiteracy.

There's much grimness in the humor, so it's not for everyone, including several references to executions -- and some about the jail. One memorable line is from one of the crooked city bosses (sorry, not an exact quote):

"They'll send us to the firing squad!"

followed by:

"Don't worry. I own the factory that makes the guns."

If you can put up with such jests, then you will like this movie. Beware, though: it is not for children.

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Release Date:

31 December 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Happy Times See more »


Box Office


$2,873,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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