The Inspector General ★★★½

Somewhere in France, patent medicine salesman Walter Slezak turns away his inept, and soft-hearted, assistant Danny Kaye. Kaye, hungry and thirsty, wanders into a small village where he hopes to beg some food. The corrupt town counselors of the village, who have been warned of a surprise visit from the Inspector General, mistakenly take Kaye for the Inspector General in disguise. They are soon wining and dining him and trying to find a way to get rid of him. Meantime, Kaye learns from serving girl Barbara Bates about the corrupt practices of the counsel and determines to thwart them.

The story, based on a play by Nikolai Gogol, is well tailored to Kaye’s talents as a singer, dancer, and hammy, overblown comedian. The comedy is enhanced by a fine supporting cast, including Gene Lockhart, Alan Hale, Elsa Lanchester and Walter Catlett. Slezak adds a touch of calculating menace.