In this classic satire, the Duchess (Peter Sellers) and the Prime Minister (Peter Sellers) of the tiny Duchy of Grand Fenwick have come up with a brilliant plan to keep their country from going broke - make war on the United States, lose, then collect lots of American post-war aid. Their only mistake is not telling their invasion force leader (Sellers again, in chain mail!) that he's supposed to lose. Sellers lands in New York City during an air raid drill and finds the streets empty. He then proceeds to capture a brilliant scientist (David Kossoff), his assistant (Jean Seberg) and his awesome new weapon. The U.S. is forced to surrender! Grand Fenwick then forms the League of Little Nations which presents the big nations with its terms - Peace Forever.
Funny but dated Cold War satire
- The Mouse That Roared review by PV
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You rated this film: 4
This is a very dated and silly satire, based on a post war novel. However, it is a neat conceit, however absurd, and the plot (which seems to get thinner as the film progresses to a rizla thickness) allows for some wonderful hammy acting from always-watchable Peter Sellers.
The multi-character playing is not up there with Alec Guinness standards (in Kind Hearts and Coronets). But really, Peter Sellers in an average and dated movie is 10 times more watchable than most actors in most movies!
It's a short film and funny - if one allows oneself to enter the absurd world of the story.
It's also a period piece and now looks quaint - people rehearsing going to shelters in preparation for a nuclear war etc. The post-war jokes are there - about how the USA showers the losing side in wars with cash (i.e. Germany and Japan) whereas the victors have to be poor and pay for themselves (the UK didn't pay its final payment to the US for money we borrowed to save the world until 2006. Yep, 2006!)
Oddly, it brought to mind 28 Days Later when the Fenwick 'army' land in New York to find it deserted. That movie beats this on the special effects but not the humour!