Though The Inspector General bombed at he box office and reviews were not sparkling,
this is one of Danny's movies that seems to be a little easier to find, easier than
say Up in Arms, one of the hardest films to find for purchase. The Inspector General
also seems to be generally enjoyed by most fans. Unfortunately biographers, as well
as Danny himself, have not held this same sentiment. Kurt Singer, Danny's biographer,
said, "Having two such able comics as Kaye and Elsa Lanchester play against each
other was a great mistake." And Danny said, "Each picture taught me something. They
were educational, perhaps not for those who saw them, but for me who made them. Even
a picture like The Inspector General taught me never to make another movie like that."
(The Danny Kaye Story pg 186) I wish Danny would have elaborated on his comment.
I, personally, have enjoyed this film very much, and I'm not sure why others have
not. Danny's character, Georgi, is adorably innocent and honest; you feel for him
when he gets slighted by Yakov. Danny creates such a wonderful character that it's
hard not to like him. There are also some hilarious moments of comedy on Danny's
part, like when he's attempting to draw his sword for the singing of the anthem.
Walter Slezak, who plays Yakov, creates a love-hate relationship with the audience.
There are times you want to hate him, and other times you appreciate him for stepping
up and trying to help Georgi, even if it is in his own twisted way. Sylvia Fine's
songs are fun and wonderfully written, especially Yakov's Golden Elixir, The Gypsy
Drinking Song, and Brodney's anthem. Overall it's an enjoyable movie, and not one
that I thought deserved a "bombing" at the box office.
Filmed: Aug. 16 - Nov. 10, 1948; Jan 8-13, July 13 - Aug. 1, 1949
Released: Dec. 31, 1949 (Koenig, David. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 126)
This film was produced and released by Warner Brothers.
Danny’s wife, Sylvia Fine, was credited as Associate Producer on this film and was
responsible for all the songs.
Alan Hale plays Kovatch in this film. His son, Alan Hale, Jr., Later became famous
as the Skipper in the television show, Gilligan’s Island.
This is the first film in which Danny sings a serious, sentimental song, “Happy Times,”
which he sings to Barbara Bates in the kitchen.
From the 1948 articles, you can see that the movie was originally called Happy Times
but was obviously changed later to The Inspector General. David Koenig explained,
“[…] the author of a Canadian radio program, The Happy Time, threatened to sue if
Warners used the title Happy Times.” (Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 135)
Danny Kaye Behind-the-Scenes Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.