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The Inspector General Details


The satirical bite of Gogol's play The Government Inspector is dispensed with in favor of traditional Danny Kaye buffoonery in Danny Kaye. 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 Barbara Bates, nothing stands still--least of all Danny Kaye, who cuts quite a swath through several Sylvia Fine/Johnny Mercer specialty songs. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:December 31, 1949


Danny Kaye
as Georgi
Walter Slezak
as Yakov
Barbara Bates
as Leza
Elsa Lanchester
as Maria
Gene Lockhart
as The Mayor
Alan Hale
as Kovatch
Walter Catlett
as Col. Castine
Rhys Williams
as Inspector General
Ben Baker
as Telecki
Norman Leavitt
as Laszlo
Sam Hearn
as Gizzick
Byron Foulger
as Burbis
Lennie Bremen
as Lieutenant
Nestor Paiva
as Gregor
John Carradine


Henry Koster
Jerry Wald
Jordan Fields
Harry Kurnitz
Philip Rapp
Elwood Bredell
Johnny Green
Johnny Green
Composer (Music Score)
Johnny Green
Musical Direction/Supervision
Johnny Mercer
Rudi Fehr
William Travilla
Costume Designer
Eugene Loring
Perc Westmore