The Inspector General (1949)

102 mins | Musical comedy | 31 December 1949

Director:

Henry Koster

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

Elwood Bredell

Editor:

Rudi Fehr

Production Designer:

Robert Haas

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's working title was Happy Times . A 8 Nov 1947 LAT news item noted that Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer were working on a script for the picture, but their contribution to the final film is doubtful. The Inspector General marked Danny Kaye's first starring performance for Warner Bros. Nikolai Gogol's play was also the basis for the 1915 and 1952 Russian productions entitled Revizor , two Czech films, released in 1933 and 1937, and the 1936 Chinese film Mad Night ... More Less

The film's working title was Happy Times . A 8 Nov 1947 LAT news item noted that Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer were working on a script for the picture, but their contribution to the final film is doubtful. The Inspector General marked Danny Kaye's first starring performance for Warner Bros. Nikolai Gogol's play was also the basis for the 1915 and 1952 Russian productions entitled Revizor , two Czech films, released in 1933 and 1937, and the 1936 Chinese film Mad Night . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Nov 1949.
---
Daily Variety
17 Nov 49
p. 3, 10
Film Daily
18 Nov 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 49
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
8 Nov 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Nov 49
p. 89.
New York Times
31 Dec 49
p. 9.
Variety
23 Nov 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir and incidental score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the play The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol (St. Petersburg, Apr 1836).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Onward Onward," "The Medicine Show," "The Inspector General," "Lonely Hearts," "Gypsy Drinking Song," "Soliloquy for Three Heads," "Happy Times" and "Brodny," music and lyrics by Sylvia Fine.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Happy Times
Release Date:
31 December 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 30 December 1949
Production Date:
mid August--mid December 1948
addl scenes 18 July 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 December 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2744
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
102
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In eighteenth-century Hungary, the emperor Napoleon sends his inspector general throughout the country to uncover corruption and report back to him. In Brodny, Yakov, a traveling medicine salesman, and his assistant, Georgi, are demonstrating Yakov's special concoction, Golden Elixer. When an old lady spends her last pennies on a bottle, hoping to cure her dying husband, Georgi experiences a sudden fit of honesty and, after telling her that the elixer is worthless, is forced to run away from the angry crowd. Furious, Yakov orders Georgi away. Georgi fixes a hole in his boot with a piece of paper signed by Napoleon and then wanders into Brodny, where he is arrested as a horse thief. Soon, however, having heard that the inspector general is nearby, the council decides that Georgi is really the inspector general in disguise. They release him from jail, and when they find the bit of paper with Napoleon's signature, they are convinced that their suspicions are accurate. The mayor invites Georgi into his home, and together with the other councilors, plans a number of distractions to interfere with the investigations. The next morning, Georgi is about to tell the townspeople they have made a mistake, when Yakov, who is in the crowd, recognizes him and pretends to be his servant. Georgi is still determined to escape before his deception is discovered, until Leza, a servant girl, tells him that the people of Brodny are hoping he will stay and expose rampant government corruption and misery. That evening, various officials, one after another, visit Georgi's room to offer evidence of wrongdoings in exchange for mercy. Yakov takes advantage ... +


In eighteenth-century Hungary, the emperor Napoleon sends his inspector general throughout the country to uncover corruption and report back to him. In Brodny, Yakov, a traveling medicine salesman, and his assistant, Georgi, are demonstrating Yakov's special concoction, Golden Elixer. When an old lady spends her last pennies on a bottle, hoping to cure her dying husband, Georgi experiences a sudden fit of honesty and, after telling her that the elixer is worthless, is forced to run away from the angry crowd. Furious, Yakov orders Georgi away. Georgi fixes a hole in his boot with a piece of paper signed by Napoleon and then wanders into Brodny, where he is arrested as a horse thief. Soon, however, having heard that the inspector general is nearby, the council decides that Georgi is really the inspector general in disguise. They release him from jail, and when they find the bit of paper with Napoleon's signature, they are convinced that their suspicions are accurate. The mayor invites Georgi into his home, and together with the other councilors, plans a number of distractions to interfere with the investigations. The next morning, Georgi is about to tell the townspeople they have made a mistake, when Yakov, who is in the crowd, recognizes him and pretends to be his servant. Georgi is still determined to escape before his deception is discovered, until Leza, a servant girl, tells him that the people of Brodny are hoping he will stay and expose rampant government corruption and misery. That evening, various officials, one after another, visit Georgi's room to offer evidence of wrongdoings in exchange for mercy. Yakov takes advantage of this opportunity to demand money in exchange for silence. He tells Georgi that they will use the money to replace funds stolen by the council, which were to have been used to buy a church organ. Later, Leza overhears the council plotting to kill Georgi. She hands him a written warning, but Georgi, who is illiterate, asks Yakov to read it to him. Yakov claims it is a love letter, intending to send Georgi to his death. At midnight, Georgi hurries to the barn, thinking that he has a rendezvous with Leza. There, learning of Yakov's betrayal, he prevents Yakov from leaving with the funds he has collected. Georgi and Leza then take the money to buy an organ. While they are gone, the real inspector general arrives in Brodny, and when Georgi returns, he and Yakov are jailed. Impressed by Georgi's actions, however, the inspector general announces that Georgi is the first honest man he has met and names him the new mayor. Leza then joins Georgi as he greets the villagers. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.