Filmed scenes from Inspector General

From The Director's Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant-Garde by Dassia N. Posner

  • This series of interspersed film clips from episodes 3, 5, and 7 of Inspector General reveals the production’s precise choreography of exaggerated movement, ranging from Khlestakov’s sweeping gestures to the tiny movements of Anna Andreevna’s eyes.

    Episodes 3 and 5: Anna Andreevna (Raikh) flirts with Dobchinsky (Mologin), pretending to faint in his arms, only to be interrupted by the stealthy entrance of her daughter (Babanova), whose head is bedecked with ridiculous looped braids. Anna dreams of many suitors, who materialize in her room to serenade her en masse with imaginary balalaikas before shooting themselves.

    Episode 7: Khlestakov (Garin) and his alter ego, the officer-in-transit (Kelberer), sit on opposite ends of a little table at the house of the Mayor (Starkovsky) and light their cigars in unison with candles. Khlestakov is energized, both by the fawning of the town officials and by the great quantity of alcohol he has consumed. His elaborate declarations are counterbalanced by a tiny, absurd gesture: he takes Anna Andreevna’s pinkie on a teaspoon and kisses it.

    See book: p. 83, 84

Creator Role
  • Performing Arts
  • Premiere: December 9, 1926
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Content Type
Citable Link
  • Filmed scenes (episode 3, “The Unicorn,” episode 5, “Full of Most Tender Love,” and episode 7, “Behind a Bottle of Tolstobriushka”) from Inspector General, based on the play by Nikolai Gogol, adapted by Vsevolod Meyerhold and Mikhail Korenev, directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold, Meyerhold Theatre (GosTIM), Moscow (premiere: December 9, 1926). НВ 2544/17. Copyright © A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow.