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Great Britain has had an international agreement for the last 50 years with a small pacific island. It has been ignored until the death of their king brings it to the attention of the ... See full summary »
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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
The AFI online Catalog reports the showing of this film to diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland on 23 May 1959. There is no mention of the circumstances of the showing. See more »
The narrator tells us that the mock version of Grand Fenwick's wine drove the real wine out of the U.S. market in 1959. A news announcer later reports the score of the last game of the 1958 World Series. See more »
There isn't a more profitable undertaking for any country than to declare war on the United States and to be defeated.
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The opening credits include an animation of a big mouse coming out of a castle on its drawbridge. However it is drawn as if it walks off the side of the drawbridge. See more »
This is one of the strangest movies of the 1950s--starting BEFORE the opening credits and lasting until the final seconds! Just plain weird! It seems the insignificantly small Duchey of Grand Fenwick is in crisis--the nation is nearly bankrupt and there appears to be no way out of their financial dilemma. Untimately they hit upon a plan--they will declare war against the United States and quickly surrender. Then, based on how the US treated its defeated foes after WW2, the US is sure to pour mountains of financial aid into Grand Fenwick! The first problem is they don't have an army. What they do have are some old medieval suits of armor and some bows and arrows, so with these they set off for America! What happens next, you'll just have to see to believe!
This movie is very interesting because Peter Sellars appears in the movie in many different roles (apparently the gene pool in Grand Fenwick is rather limited)--ranging from the hero of the story, Tully Bascombe to the conniving prime minister to even the queen! It reminds me very much of the Alec Guinness film KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, in which Guinness played multiple roles.
The down side is that occasionally the plot lags and becomes a bit too silly. However, considering the risks they take and the overall weirdness and how funny the movie is in general, I think these lags can easily be over looked.
This movie had a sequel, MOUSE ON THE MOON, about the space race. I didn't particularly care for that--it was very silly but the magic just wasn't there.
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