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The Mouse That Roared (1959)

Approved | | Comedy | November 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
An impoverished backward nation declares a war on the United States of America, hoping to lose, but things don't go according to plan.

Director:

Jack Arnold

Writers:

Roger MacDougall (screenplay) (as Roger Macdougall), Stanley Mann (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Sellers ... Grand Duchess Gloriana XII / Prime Minister Count Rupert of Mountjoy / Tully Bascombe
Jean Seberg ... Helen Kokintz
William Hartnell ... Will Buckley
David Kossoff ... Doctor Alfred Kokintz
Leo McKern ... Benter
MacDonald Parke MacDonald Parke ... General Snippet (as Macdonald Parke)
Austin Willis Austin Willis ... United States Secretary of Defense
Timothy Bateson ... Roger
Monte Landis Monte Landis ... Cobbley (as Monty Landis)
Alan Gifford ... Air Raid Warden
Colin Gordon ... BBC Announcer
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Pedro
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A (highly shortened) version of the classic British comedy of the same name about a poor and undeveloped country which declares a war on the US, with the hope of losing - but things go wrong almost from the start.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Sid Caesar, Richard Deacon, Joyce Jameson

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Storyline

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, the smallest country in the world, is nestled in the French Alps. Being as isolated as it is, its life is a throwback to olden days. It is a happy, peace-loving country. Its economy solely rests on export of its only wine, Pinot Grand Fenwick, to the US. When a California vintner starts producing and selling a knock-off of the Pinot Grand Fenwick at a lower price, the Grand Fenwick economy goes into a crisis situation, the country on the brink of bankruptcy. Three protests to the US go largely unanswered. Grand Fenwick's Prime Minister, Rupert of Mountjoy, believes the solution is to declare war on the US, and promptly lose the war in less than a day with no casualties on either side, after which the US, which it has historically done, will provide vast financial aide to rebuild the country. Grand Fenwick's monarch, the Grand Duchess Gloriana XII, ultimately supports this concept. The plan is to send an official declaration of war to the US, have a small ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Hilarious Story of How the Duchy of Grand Fenwick Waged War on the U.S. - and Won See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tiny ship that transports the Grand Duchy's soldiers is the Paladin. See more »

Goofs

After Grand Fenwick's army sets sail for home, the headlines in one American newspapers (the San Francisco Review) talks about war mobilisation. American newspapers would spell it mobilization. See more »

Quotes

Grand Duchess Gloriana: How did the war go?
Tulley Bascombe: Well, Your Grace, we're home. Actually, there's been a slight change of plan. I know it will come as a surprise, a pleasant one, I hope, but we sort of won.
Prime Minster Count Rupert Mountjoy: You sort of *what*?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During opening credits, the ships passing back and forth erase the prior names and reveal new names. See more »

Connections

Referenced in BoJack Horseman: Stupid Piece of Sh*t (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Played in the score
See more »

User Reviews

 
A duchy wages war on the U.S.
10 March 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"The Mouse that Roared" is a very funny 1959 film starring Peter Sellers in three different roles, and he's brilliant in all of them. The supporting cast includes Jean Seberg and Leo McKern. A tiny, backward duchy's sole support is wine imported to the U.S. When a copycat comes in and destroys their income, the powers that be decide to wage war on the U.S. - well, they decide to declare war on the U.S. Then they plan to surrender. After all, after the U.S. is involved in a war, don't they come in with money, food and supplies to rebuild the country they were against? In their medieval costumes, armed with bows and arrows, the country's motley group of soldiers head for the U.S. via ship. Once there, unable to find anyone to surrender to - everyone's underground because of a bomb test - and those who see them take them for outer space aliens - they take the creator of the powerful Q bomb, his daughter, and some policemen hostage. With the bomb, which looks like a football, they then control the world.

It's a great concept, with two soldiers fighting over which one is going to get the Empire State Building ("I saw it first. It's mine."), and a display for the hostages on duchy soil that includes the orchestra playing "Frankie and Johnnie." Sellers' roles are that of Gloriana XII, the reigning duchess, Baron Montjoy, the prime minister, and Tully Bascomb, the shy, unwilling army commander who falls in love with the inventor's daughter (Jean Seberg). He creates three completely different characters, all totally believable.

Jean Seberg, who came to such a tragic end, is exquisitely beautiful but possibly one of the worst actresses ever to hit the screen. It's hard to believe someone gave her Joan of Arc - she could barely get through this. I remember her being much better in "Moment to Moment" and "Airport" and of course, she had a huge hit with "Breathless." Here, up against the talents of Sellers, she's just saying words with false emotion. However, she's so beautiful, you can't take your eyes off of her, so she certainly makes a successful object of Tully's affections.

All in all, a wonderful farce with a serious undertone. Highly recommended.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mouse That Roared See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$450,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Highroad Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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