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The Mouse That Roared (1959)

Approved | | Comedy | November 1959 (USA)
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2:30 | Trailer

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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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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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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Maus, die brüllte See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Jack Arnold and Walter Shenson thought the dailies were hilarious, Carl Foreman and Columbia's European head didn't get it. Their lack of response was so discouraging, Arnold stopped going to the daily screenings. See more »

Goofs

The scene when Tully and his men return to Grand Fenwick was obviously shot in segments and pieced together. In the shots of Count Mountjoy and Bentner, one can clearly see their breath (condensation) as they are speaking, but not in the shots focusing on Tully or the Duchess, indicating that those scenes were shot at a time when the weather was colder. See more »

Quotes

Helen Kokintz: You can turn around right now and kiss me if you want to.
Tulley Bascombe: Really?
Helen Kokintz: Really.
See more »

Crazy Credits

THE END

We Hope . . . See more »

Connections

Referenced in Call the Midwife: Episode #3.2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Love Theme
(1868) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Three Sellers equals one very funny film
2 March 2002 | by grstmcSee all my reviews

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED was Peter Sellers' first starring film, and he would succeed beyond all expectations. This became a huge "sleeper hit" when it was shown in the States, and deservedly so. Its brand of satire still holds up today.

The story is about a miniscule European state, the duchy of Grand Fenwick, which sees a way out of bankruptcy by declaring war on the US (to be followed by a quick surrender, and rehabilitative aid from the generous victor). An invasion force, with 12th century chainmail and crossbows, is thereupon dispatched to New York. But by mistake, the commander captures the nuclear "Q-Bomb", along with its inventor and his beautiful daughter, and brings them back to Grand Fenwick.

Sellers plays three roles: Gloriana XII, the old reigning duchess (believe it or not); Baron Montjoy, the crafty prime minister; and Tully Bascomb, the inept army commander. For my money, the third role is the best. Absent any sort of disguise, except for a pair of glasses, Tully is the central character. The first scene of Grand Fenwick's part-time commander, and full-time gamekeeper, has him caught in a trap and unable to scare away the fox that just sits there looking at him. As the bumbling hero, he is funny in his own right, and we're all rooting for him to save the day at the end.

The one and only Sellers does a great job in all departments, the state of Grand Fenwick is expertly brought to the screen with a unique sense of humor, and this MOUSE still roars plenty loud even after forty some years. Four out of five stars.


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