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The Mouse That Roared
The Mouse That Roared
Actors: Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell, David Kossoff, Leo McKern
Director: Jack Arnold
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Kids & Family, Military & War
UR     2003     1hr 23min

Sellers stars in three roles in a story of a little country that plans to find financial security by losing a war to the U.S., but whose plans go awry when it wins. — Genre: Feature Film-Comedy — Rating: UN — Release Date: 8-...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell, David Kossoff, Leo McKern
Director: Jack Arnold
Creators: John Wilcox, Raymond Poulton, Jon Penington, Walter Shenson, Leonard Wibberley, Roger MacDougall, Stanley Mann
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Kids & Family, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classic Comedies, Peter Sellers, Comedy, Military & War
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/08/2003
Original Release Date: 10/26/1959
Theatrical Release Date: 10/26/1959
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 29
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Michael G. (doctorslime) from SAGINAW, MI
Reviewed on 11/15/2010...
B & W campy old Movie.

It is classic peter sellers, if you don't love peter then this movie may be to campy for you.

(Potential Spoilers Alert Do Not Read Further)

He plays at least 3 roles in this movie, You ought to count and see how many more he does play, so therefore he is almost always on the screen at all times for this farce. In which a tiny country which finds its self broke decides to go to war with the USA? Why? Because if they do, they will loose... and if they loose they will get money spent by the victorious soldiers in their country, plus lots of foreign aid from the Stupid USA. Sounds like it might work right? Well they try to invade the USA and something goes wrong.... That is the whole theme and plot of this movie.


Movie Reviews

Forgotten classic
Orrin C. Judd | Hanover, NH USA | 04/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sadly Leonard Wibberley's hilarious satire, The Mouse that Roared seems to be making the slow sad transit from wildly popular bestseller and hit
movie in the 50s and 60s to cult classic in the 70s and 80s to largely forgotten in the 90s and 00s. The book, which was originally serialized in the
Saturday Evening Post from December 1954 to January 1955 as The Day New York Was Invaded, is no longer in print--despite the fact that the
tattered copy I'm holding is something like the 30th printing. And the film does not seem to have been transferred to DVD, though I did find a copy
of the equally funny sequel, The Mouse on the Moon. Our growing amnesia is unfortunate, both because this is just a funny story, and also because
current events reveal it to still be timely.The tale concerns the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny European nation which "lies in a precipitous fold of the northern Alps." It was founded in
1370 by British soldier of fortune Roger Fenwick, under not altogether honorable circumstances. Practically the only thing that is produced there,
and the only reason anyone has ever heard of it, is a fine wine called Pinot Grand Fenwick. Other than this one export, the nation remains happily
isolated, a medieval remnant in the modern world, ruled over by Duchess Gloriana XII--"a pretty girl of twenty-two" in the book, a more matronly
woman in the film, so that Peter Sellers can play her--and her prime minister, the Count of Mountjoy (also played by Peter Sellers).As the story begins, crisis has descended upon the Grand Duchy in the form of revenue shortfalls. It is determined that the most effective way of
raising money is to declare war on the United States, the pretext for which is the introduction of a San Rafael, California winery of a wine called
Pinot Grand Enwick, a provocation that can not be allowed to stand. As Gloriana explains the aims of the war : All in all, as I said before, there is no more profitable and sound step for a nation without money or credit to take, than declare war
on the United States and suffer a total defeat.It's easy to see why the fortunes of this story changed over the years; written just a few years after the Marshall Plan, it resonated in an America that
had won WWII and rebuilt its enemies. But in the late 60s and early 70s, the Left determined that America was evil and that there was nothing
honorable nor humorous about the Cold War, Vietnam, or any of the other seemingly benign extensions of American power. Wibberley's witty
insight must have seemed the stuff of delusions or insidious propaganda to folks who had convinced themselves that we were really an imperialist
nation. But now that the "blame America first" crowd has been routed, you can read that speech above, or watch the movie, and hear the eerie
echoes coming from Afghanistan. What might Mr. Wibberley have made of the absurd notion that at the same we were bombing the Taliban and Al
Qaeda we were bombing the rest of the Afghanis with food supplies? And the rest of the war has played out exactly as the Duchess Gloriana would
have predicted--the Taliban had no sooner been routed than we started pouring in money and rebuilding that broken nation. You could read through
thousands of pages of anti-American screeds by Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Barbara Kingsolver, and their ilk, without increasing your
understanding of the world by one iota. But in that one speech, Leonard Wibberley basically explains the entire 20th (or American) Century.At any rate, Tully Bascombe, chief forest ranger of the Duchy (again played by Sellers in the film), and twenty longbowmen charter a boat and
invade Manhattan, intending to surrender as quickly as possible. But by happy coincidence, the whole city is underground for an air raid test, and
when first Tully and his chain mail clad "army" are mistaken for aliens and then they capture a scientist, Dr. Kokintz, and his super-lethal quadium
(or Q) bomb, Grand Fenwick ends up winning the war. Armed with the Q bomb, Fenwick forms a League of Little Nations and dictates its own
peace terms and blackmails the U.S. and Russia into a general nuclear disarmament.Tully, hero of Fenwick's great victory, of course gets the girl--Dr. Kokintz's daughter in the film; the Duchess herself in the novel. This gives Mr.
Wibberley one last opportunity for a very amusing, though thoroughly politically incorrect, observation, as Mountjoy tries to convince the Duchess
that she must take a husband : 'I hope,' said Gloriana warily, 'that you are not going to suggest that I marry the American minister because I won't do it.
I've been reading about the Americans in a women's magazine and they're all cruel to their wives,' 'Cruel to their wives?' echoed the count. 'Precisely. They treat them as equals. They refuse to make any decisions without consulting them. They load them up with
worries they should keep to themselves. And when there isn't enough money, they send them out to work instead of earning
more by their own efforts. Some of them even make their wives work so they can go to college. They are not men at all.
They are men-women. And their wives are women-men. If I am to marry, I want a husband who will be a man and let me
be a woman. I'll be able to handle him better that way.'Of course, the ultimate truth of this sharp observation lies in the final line, Gloriana's certainty that theoretical "equality" is unnecessary for her to
actually control a husband.Both book and movie are a great deal of fun. They are well worth seeking out. That their satire is once again applicable to the events of the day
should be reason enough for a revival.GRADE : A"
"How did the war go?" "I think we've won."
M. Hart | USA | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1959, a hilarious Cold War-inspired film entitled "The Mouse that Roared" was produced about a fictional tiny country named "The Duchy of Grand Fenwick". Grand Fenwick is no ordinary country. First, it's the smallest country in the world (about 15 square miles). Second, it's the only English-speaking country in continental Europe (located in the French Alps). Third, it's primary source of revenue is its wine; which was quite popular in the United States until a Californian winery started to bottle a cheaper wine with a similar name to the Grand Fenwick wine. Several letters of protest had been sent to the U.S., but no response had ever been received, except from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about growing grapes. To prevent bankruptcy, Prime Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy (Peter Sellers, 1925-1980) makes an unusual suggestion to the Grand Fenwick Parliament: declare war on the United States, then immediately surrender so that the U.S. will provide bountiful amounts of monetary aid. Grand Duchess Gloriana XII (also played by Peter Sellers) doesn't initially like the idea of going to war, but she acquiesces and the Prime Minister Mountjoy calls upon the Grand Fendwick military Field Marshal, Tully Bascombe (again, played by Peter Sellers), to lead Grand Fendwick's 20 (or so) man army (wearing chain mail from the Middle Ages) to invade the U.S. in New York City, where they can surrender to U.S. immigration authorities. Grand Fendwick's Declaration of War is perceived initially as a prank in the U.S., which is more interested in the development of a new super bomb (dubbed the Q-bomb) by the well-known scientist Professor Alfred Kokintz (David Kossoff, 1919-2005), who is also in New York City. Due to the potential destructiveness of the Q-bomb, New York City is evacuated. So, when the Grand Fenwick army arrives, there is no one around for them to surrender to. Instead, they proceed into the emptied city and are misconstrued by some evacuation officials as being extraterrestrials because of their chain mail. When Tully happens across a newspaper, he realizes that they are not far from where Professor Kokintz is developing the Q-bomb and decides that surrender isn't necessarily the only available option. What follows is a complete shock to the entire world.

Even after 46 years, "The Mouse that Roared" is still a hilarious and very entertaining film, and Peter Sellers did a superb job of portraying three very different characters. Overall, I rate "The Mouse that Roared" with 5 out of 5 stars. Other memorable characters include Professor Kokintz's daughter Helen (Jean Seberg, 1938-1979), General Snippet (MacDonald Parke, 1891-1960), Will Buckley (William Hartnell, 1908-1975, who is better known for being the very first "Doctor Who" on the long-running BBC sci-fi TV series of the same name), Benter (Leo McKern, 1920-2002) and the United States Secretary of Defense (Austin Willis, 1917-2004)."
A delightful Cold War satire
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Mouse That Roared," directed by Jack Arnold, is an entertaining satire about the fictional Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny European monarchy which may remind viewers of such real countries as Liechtenstein or Monaco. With his country facing bankruptcy, the prime minister of Grand Fenwick announces his clever plan to declare war on the United States of America; his intent is to lose the absurdly uneven contest and reap the benefits of post-war American aid. But things don't go quite as expected.

"Mouse" opens with a whimsical animated title sequence that effectively sets the tone for the rest of the picture. This is followed by a funny faux-documentary sequence about the fictional duchy, and then by the actual story. The film is a splendid showcase for the great Peter Sellers, who plays three characters, all citizens of Grand Fenwick: the scheming prime minister, the venerable duchess, and the mild-mannered commander of the duchy's pitiable army. Sellers is absolutely brilliant; he creates three wonderfully distinct characters, and it's especially fun to see the scenes where these characters interact with each other. His performance(s) alone make the film a classic in my reckoning.

I found "Mouse" to be an enchanting and enjoyable film, full of absurd images and amusing lines. The marvelous sets, costumes, and props are full of wonderful details that make the film a delight for the eye from start to finish. And despite its comic tone, the film touches on some very serious issues that remain timely. I think of "Mouse" as a gentler cousin to the classic "Dr. Strangelove," another military satire that stars Peter Sellers in three different roles; together I think the films would make a great double feature."