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THE MOUSE THAT ROARED

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, & Peter Sellers
Director: Jack Arnold
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 83 Minutes
Release Date: July 8th, 2003

“Men of Fenwick, do you love your country?”
“Yes!”
“When you hear the name Grand Fenwick do your hearts swell with pride?”
“YES!”
“And if your country calls, will you rush to enlist?”
“NO!”
“Oh, I don't think I'm very good at this…”

Film **

I have been trying to break out of my normal movie routine lately and view things that I wouldn't necessarily choose to see in any other situation.   Monty Python movies and Mel Brooks flicks have been high on my list lately.   Between The Holy Grail, Spaceballs, and The Life of Brian, I am slowly but surely getting an education in what I consider high quality, nonsense entertainment.  

Now in keeping with that theme, I took on the challenge of reviewing The Mouse That Roared, starring in alphabetical order, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, and the great Peter Sellers.   That's right…Mr. Sellers plays a triad role in this film, and I have to wonder, why didn't someone stop him!

Now maybe it's just me and I can't appreciate it in the way it was intended because I'm somehow missing the joke.  I have a hard time believing I missed all of the jokes this DVD is supposed to contain because right on the cover it says, “All is fair in laughs and war.”   It's highly unlikely and doubtful, but hey, I'm not without flaws, so let the reviewing begin.

The Mouse That Roared is a tale about the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny little country almost forgotten even by its own inhabitants.   They are broke and in desperate need of some help.   America is apparently ignoring their requests, and they have no alternative but to declare war on the United States.

There was only one part of the movie that I truly laughed at.  While discussing the course of action they must pursue, you cannot help but agree with the logic behind their decision to declare war on the United States.  How better to become a wealthy country than to attack the U.S. and lose.   The foreign aid package they will receive alone makes war with the U.S. more profitable than anything else they've got going on.  

Now unfortunately, the leader of their rag tag army was not informed of the mission to loose the war.  Tally is a very simple and honest man who inherited his post as Constable and Field Marshal. 

When the army from the Duchy of Grand Fenwick lands on American soil, they find New York City deserted.   Air raid drills have cleared the streets and a path to the Doctor who is building the Q Bomb, a bomb so terrifying it will make the H Bomb look like a bottle rocket.

Well, it seems their little war doesn't go as planned, and along the way the tiny country of Fenwick behind the leadership of Tally becomes a global superpower, but you'll have to watch it yourself to find out how.

I really didn't find a lot about this movie to like.   Don't get me wrong…I didn't hate the movie, and I did laugh a little.   I think the problem was the dry nature of the humor they were using.   It wasn't slapstick, and it wasn't stupid humor, it was very bland statements meant to tap into your intellectual side and make you go oh yes, that's funny.  

Peter Sellers is supposedly a funny man.  I can say with complete honesty that he wasn't very funny in this movie, so I suppose it's his other movies that hold the key to unlocking his humorous side.   He did do a wonderful job portraying the Duchess of Fenwick, Tally the Constable/Field Marshal, as well as the scheming Prime Minister. 

As the Duchess, Sellers was very feminine; it was like watching a drag show gone horribly wrong.   His portrayal of Tally was very subdued, and his Prime Minister was positively stuffy.   I knew all three roles were being played by Sellers, but he was able to bring a certain level of individuality to each character.   I think the movie and his acting would have been better served in a singular role.  However, that is only my opinion.

I don't want to be overly negative with this or any other film.   What I find truly horrid someone else may find absolutely adorable.   That's why I always say, it's only 83 minutes of your time, and who knows, you might think it's the funniest thing since sliced bread.   Right about now you're asking yourself, what about sliced bread is funny?  My point, exactly!

Video ***

The video quality for a transfer this old was surprisingly clean.   This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer was done very nicely with a minimal amount of dirt and grain visible.  

The only noticeable problem is with the camerawork, in my opinion.  Watching a movie like this makes you wish the steady cam had been invented a lot sooner.   There were a few places where the focus was off by about one click, but other than that this disc was a positive viewing experience.

Audio **

The Dolby Digital audio blend on this disc was nice for a mono mix.   The dialogue was balanced nicely with the sound effects and background music. 

The mix overall sounded hollow throughout, but working on a sound stage with less than modern equipment tends to do that to a movie.

There audio did not seem to fluctuate or drop out at any point during the movie, so overall this is a decent sounding DVD.

Features *

DVD move trailers for The Mouse That Roared, Dr. Strangelove, and Don't Raise The Bridge, Lower The River are included for your viewing pleasure. 

Interactive DVD menus and scene selections are the only other extras that helped this DVD squeak by in the features department.

Summary:

This was a nice disc with some descent movie trailers on board to help it along.   I didn't care for the movie itself, but two outta three ain't bad, or so they say!