I find myself prepping for an upcoming production of the Revizor, or The Inspector-General. This is my favorite of all Gogol’s works and is regarded as the epitome of theatrical satire. The Meyerhold Theater first staged this production in 1926, giving it a decidedly modern feel, befitting the Russian avant garde.
There have been numerous other versions over the years including a lavish musical comedy, featuring Danny Kaye, from 1949. But, this 1996 Russian production featuring Nikita Mikhalkov as the mayor and Oleg Yankovsky as the judge is perhaps the best screen version of the classic play. Alas, it doesn’t seem to have made into the Mubi database yet.
Each September, Ukranians have a Gogolfest honoring the man of mixed parentage but grew up in the Ukraine. Taras Bulba was perhaps his most patriotic piece of work, a homage to the famous Cossack who defended his native Ukraine against the Poles. Taras Bulba was given the full Hollywood treatment in 1962 with Yul Brynner in the lead role. Vladimir Bortko received revived the epic tale in a lavish production
Gogol is probably best known for his novel, Dead Souls, and classic short stories such as The Nose. He also penned a classic short story, Christmas Eve, which is a Russian silent classic. His stories have been mined by many directors. Yuri Norstein continues to work on The Overcoat. Here is a documentary on this long journey which began in 1981. There is also a fantastic pinscreen animated version of Le Nez. Buster Keaton starred in The Awakening, a 1954 version of The Overcoat presented by Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Mario Bava made Viy, or Evil Spirit, into a lurid horror story in Black Sunday with Barbara Steele. The classic is the 1967 Russian version by Georgi Kropachyov. It has since been updated in Viy:The Return, with equal parts Bram Stoker as an English cartographer finds himself lost in the dark woods of the Ukraine.
There is also a wonderful Russian version of The Gamblers entitled The Russian Game. Here’s a clip. Salman Khan says the epic Bollywood production Veer is inspired by Taras Bulba. Mira Nair has fun with Gogol in The Namesake.
Here is a list of some of the films that have been drawn from the turbulent mind of Nikolai Gogol:Read less