The Inspector General

Inspector general

 

The Inspector General allows one of the greatest comedic actors of all time to explore the social awkwardness of a lower class citizen being put into the position of an Inspector General, an official whose job it is to inspect villages, expose corruption and place it’s affairs in order. Danny Kay, (White Christmas) plays Georgi, a man with far too large a heart to be an adequate assistant to the con man he works for. Kay is an incredible, multi-talented thespian with impeccable comedic timing. He is the main attraction to this quirky little period comedy, however he is surrounded by an equally odd supporting cast that adds to the humor and unique nature of the film.

Georgi, after being thrown out of his traveling medicine show, is forced to wander off on his own. His tattered clothes leave him looking like a tramp, eventually causing him to use a counterfeited piece of parchment bearing the fake insignia of the emperor, Napoleon, to plug up a hole in his shoe. He wanders into a small town and is almost immediately accused of stealing a horse. The town, whose leaders are full of corruption, learn that there is an Inspector General traveling incognito from town to town, doling out death penalties to inadequate governmental leaders. Long story short, thanks to the counterfieted signature in his boot, Georgi is mistaken as the Inspector General and must overcome the fact that he is an illiterate con-man who is generally too kind to pull any wool over anyone’s eyes.

Though simplistic, the plot works extremely well, especially with Danny Kay leading the way. At one point in the film, he doesn’t entirely know what’s happening when all of the sudden he is released from jail and is offered a feast in his honor. Due to the fact that he hasn’t eaten in 3 days, he gladly overlooks the oddity of the situation and tries his best to play the part just long enough to get something to eat. It isn’t until he passes out after the meal and wakes up the next morning that he realizes the position he’s found himself in. Kay proves himself to be an oft overlooked master of slapstick physical comedy, as well as witty banter.

Though it’s understandable that The Inspector General isn’t the most well known of Kay’s films, it certainly is given less attention than it deserves. It lacks some of the vibrancy of The Court Jester and it doesn’t have the star power associated with White Christmas, however the little odd-ball movie has, much like it’s main character, a huge heart. It is, for lack of a better description, a nice movie. Our protagonist is kind and wanting to help others before helping himself, he demonstrates a level of love to complete strangers that is almost never returned in the film, and yet it isn’t sad. Georgi’s kindness transcends the actions that others do to him, and he instead focuses on how he himself treats others, which is often times quite humorous.

 

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