Purge all thoughts of Danny Kaye from your mind when viewing the 1954 Russian film The Inspector General. While Kaye's version of this selfsame Gogol play is a lighthearted musical, the 1954 version is faithful to the cynical, mean-spirited original. A corrupt town is thrown in an uproar upon learning that the Inspector General from the capital is due for a visit. It is well known that the Inspector has imposed severe punishments upon those who don't come up to his lofty standards, thus the town's leading citizens conspire to kiss up to the visiting dignitary. Enter a crude, doltish drifter who, through a series of highly improbable plot twists, is mistaken for the Inspector General. The village elders bend over backward to treat the buffoon like royalty, even unto offering him bribes in the form of wine, women, and song. Since this 1954 Inspector General is a filmed record of the Moscow Art Theater's presentation of the Gogol classic, were are treated to the legendary "freeze frame" curtain scene.
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