The Mouse That Roared 1959

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Available in HD
(35) IMDb 7/10

The economy of the teeny-tiny European duchy of Grand Fenwick is threatened when an American manufacturer comes up with an imitation of Fenwick's sole export, its fabled wine. Crafty prime minister Count Mountjoy (Peter Sellers) comes up with a plan: Grand Fenwick will declare war on the United States.

Starring:
Peter Sellers,William Hartnell
Runtime:
1 hour, 22 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Jack Arnold
Starring Peter Sellers, William Hartnell
Supporting actors David Kossoff, Jean Seberg
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By bernie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2005
Format: DVD
From the director Jack Arnold, who directed many great sci-fi movies such as "It Came from Outer Space (1953)", we are brought the tale about the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a small country in Europe. Their major economy is the production and export of wine. After being snubbed by the U.S. wine industry they declare war on the U. S. The plan is to surrender and then be compensated with the wine concession to the U.S.
Naturally they get a little enthusiastic and things do not go as planned. Looks like they may have won the war. Peter Sellers plays three different characters (Grand Duchess Gloriana XII/Prime Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy/Tully Bascombe.)
Someone gets the Q bomb. And you get a laugh.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Sept. 2005
Format: DVD
A fellow graduate school student and I saw this film in New Haven when it was first released and had no idea what to expect, except that it starred Peter Sellers whose work we both admired very much in earlier films such as The Ladykillers (1955), Tom Thumb (1958), and I'm All Right Jack (1959). So we settled back in our seats and were immediately enchanted by Grand Fenwick and its monarch, Grand Duchess Gloriana (Sellers). The best way to enjoy this film now is to see it as a whimsical fantasy rather than as a serious satire of the Cold War and the widespread concern then about thermonuclear weapons. Its greatest strength remains the same as it was 45 years ago: The talents of Peter Sellers. He plays three quite different characters, the aforementioned Grand Duchess as well as "Field Marshal" Tully Bascombe (who leads a 20-soldier invasion of the United States) and Count Mountjoy, the devious prime minister.
The plot (such as it is) consists of a series of humorous incidents prior to, during, and then following the invasion. As directed by Jack Arnold, the film focuses on the implications of a basic conceit: Declare war on the United States (as did Japan and then Germany), lose the war, and then have your economy restored to greater health than ever before (e.g. Japan and Germany). Count Mountjoy's strategy fails for reasons best revealed in the film. One of the several brilliant elements is Arnold's use of Professor Kokintz (David Kossoff) who has invented the "Q Bomb," a weapon whose nuclear power (he claims) is "approximately" equal to 100 hydrogen bombs. Better yet, it has the size and shape of an American football and thus can easily be tucked under an arm until activated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 April 2010
Format: DVD
Peter Sellers lived in Wiltshire for a period in the sixties. He lived in the picture postcard village of Ansty, in his picture postcard cottage. He used to get his fresh vegetables from the same old market gardener who I used in later years. The old gardener told me that Sellers was a very nice man indeed, although later published works have highlighted his personal struggles, which is not uncommon to comedians of his stature. That he was a man of uncommon talent is a fact that cannot be denied, and he showcases that wonderful talent to full effect in "The Mouse that Roared"(59).

Directed by Jack Arnold, the films story concerns the fictional world's smallest nation, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, whose economy is based on the success of their own unique wine which is exported to the USA. When a rival American wine threatens the economy they decide to declare war on the USA in the hope of profiting from war reparations. To this end they send an invasion fleet across the Atlantic to New York. Their army's equipment consists of chain mail and the ever reliable long bow. They are meant to lose but unwittingly they manage to capture the deadly Q bomb and its inventor. Suddenly the world is thrown into turmoil, and "The Grand Duchy of Fenwick" has undreamed of political clout. Everyone wants to be their friend. Will it all end in disaster for the little guy?

In what was his fifth film Sellers plays three roles as GlorianaX11, reigning duchess of Grand Fenwick, Baron Mountjoy the crafty prime minister and Tully Bascombe the inept military commander. This hugely successful foray into multi identities ignited his career and led to similar roles. In "Lolita"(62) he was a playwright who underwent several hilarious character changes in order to pursue his passion.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dimitris Verionis on 15 Oct. 2003
Format: DVD
"The Mouse That Roared" is the film by which Peter Sellers gained the international stardom. This DVD is a great release as, unlike others, features subtitles in many languages and it has picture and sound of great quality! A real "must" for Peter Sellers fans and fans of classic comedy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 April 2011
Format: DVD
The Mouse That Roared is based on the novel by Leonard Wibberley, it's directed by Jack Arnold and stars Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell & Leo McKern. It tells the delightful story of The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny tiny European country that goes to war with the United States. They do so because their number one source of income, Pinot Grand Fenwick wine has stopped selling on account of a cheap imitation coming out of America, Pinot Grand Enwick. The plan is to quickly lose to America and thus accept the foreign aid that America is want to give to its stricken conquests. But all does not go according to plan as the Duchy's inadequate forces manage to take control of the "Q-Bomb," a new and deadly invention capable of global destruction.

A tidy and cheeky comedy from the late 1950s, The Mouse That Roared finds Sellers acting out three roles and director Arnold venturing away from the creature feature genre that made his name. Coming across as a sort of Ealing meets Dr Strangelove, it's nice to report that the film holds up well even today. This is down to the fact that its core pot shots are at politics and world situations, things that still exacerbate and annoy everyday followers of the worlds news. The performances are strong within the cast, while some scenes are comedy gold. Such as the Fenwickian army {numbering 20 soft souls} invading America dressed as Knights from yore, armed with bows & arrows!! Yes it's that sort of daftness that propels the visual comedy whilst the story deals in satirical smirks.

Tho not quite the British Comedy Classic some critics proclaim it to be, it is, however, hugely enjoyable and a film that rewards on repeat viewings. 6.5/10

Footnote; An inferior sequel called The Mouse On The Moon followed in 1963, Sellers and Arnold had bailed, and they were right to do so.
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