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Film / The Inspector General

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The Inspector General is a 1949 musical comedy film starring Danny Kaye. It is, as the credits put it, "suggested by" the play The Inspector General, taking the basic premise but developing in its own direction.

Kaye plays Georgi, who starts out as an assistant to the traveling Snake Oil Salesman Yakov, but gets the boot for being too innocent and honest. He wanders into the town of Brodny, where the corrupt mayor and town officials are expecting an incognito visit from a government inspector. Hilarity Ensues as Georgi is mistaken for the inspector and the officials rush to butter him up and/or assassinate him. In the end the real inspector makes himself known, dispenses justice, and appoints Georgi the new mayor.

This film contains examples of:

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The non-English portion of Georgi's "gypsy drinking song" is actually a mix of Russian and Ukrainian folk music.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: Georgi sings a "gypsy drinking song" which includes an unintended flaming sword dance. At the end of the dance the sword comes in contact with his hair, which starts smoldering as he continues the song.
    And so we drink
    To everyone we admire.
    To the girl who sets your heart aglow and sets your heart on... FIRE!
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The various corrupt officials are cousins, nephews, brothers-in-law and such and don't hesitate much to try and sell each other out.
  • Closet Shuffle: Leading to two people in a closet, one in a chest, one under a bed, and one on top of a canopy bed.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The corrupt mayor of a town the real inspector previously visited states that the inspector discovered "such corruption that even I was shocked!"
  • Floating Advice Reminder: As Georgi attempts to carry off the impersonation of the inspector, three floating heads advise him to be "arrogant, elegant, and smart," with each head representing one of those characteristics.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Two of the corrupt officials, Izzick and Grizzick, are identical twins. When they get mixed up, one of them keeps saying that he has a mole on his knee and his brother doesn't, repeatedly reaching down to roll up his pant leg before being interrupted. When he finally does roll up his pant leg he finds out that he doesn't have a mole but that his brother does, revealing that even they got each other mixed up.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: Corrupt local government officials panic when they hear there's an inspector in town, but the guy they suspect of being him is a case of mistaken identity.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Georgi is mistaken for an expected government inspector by the local corrupt bureaucrats.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Yakov, Georgi's previous employer and untrustworthy friend, sells a fake medicine to heal all wounds.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • The Mayor of a previous town hit by the real inspector general passes through and requests a fresh horse to get out of there for parts unknown, commenting that he got out of town just ahead of a firing squad while one of his accomplices was hanged and another got twenty years.
    • There's a Running Gag of one of the town officials repeatedly attempting to resign his job and leave as well (starting after he first hears the story of the other town's mayor).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Georgi and Yakov's fellow performers disappear after they scatter at the beginning. Yakov shows up in Brodny later, but the others are never heard from again.