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(Review originally written at 25 January 2007)

This is a totally absurd comedy, with many silly humor in it, that in a way makes this a little irresistible movie.

The movie features Peter Sellers in an early role. He plays three different characters in this movie, just the way he always liked it, including one female character. Sellers always had the power to play several different characters in the same movie, just as convincing and also let them convincingly interact with each other. Something other comedians impersonate but never succeeded at it as good as Peter Sellers. In a way it really is Sellers that makes this movie work. I can't imaging how this movie would had been without him. The answer is probably bad, very, very bad.

For "The Mouse That Roared" is far from a good or clever comedy. It instead is a simple and silly one. The story is incredibly simple and the comical premise of the movie gets underused. It relies too heavily on its silly comical situations and silly characters, rather than its story or wittiness.

The idea of the movie sounds really promising. Having a little bankrupt country, somewhere in the French Alps, who's still living somewhere in the 14th century, declaring war on 'modern' America, in the hope that they will loose, so they will receive foreign aid. They head off to New York, with a couple of longbow-men. What they don't know is that New York is abandoned due to a nuclear weapon test. To everybody's surprise they succeed in capturing a new super-bomb and take some hostages with them back to Grand Fenwick, making them the victorious party of the war, to their own government's dismay.

The movie is obviously a satire of the Cold War and the story also shows some indirect references to the later and inferior movie "The Producers (1968)".

However not all comical potential gets fully taken advantage off. The invasion of New York and the cultural difference between the two completely different worlds, could had been used better, to full comical potential. The movie is very short and that shows in the movie and its story- and its build up. It's filled with missed opportunities and not well enough developed comical situations. It makes "The Mouse That Roared" a sort of a lacking comedy, that could and should had been great but just isn't.

Surely the movie entertains and some of the absurd moments are hilarious, so it still in its core remains a movie that is worth watching for a couple of laughs.

Weirdest thing about the movie is that it is directed by Jack Arnold. A man who in the early '50's mostly got fame for directing some (classic) B-monster movies and science-fiction. It was like he was thinking; Hey the '50's are almost over, lets find another genre to direct in. That's mostly how "The Mouse That Roared" feels; a comedy experiment from a director who wasn't fully comfortable with the genre.

Oh and by the way; Jean Seberg can't act! Highly annoying and distracting from the story.

See if for its silliness and an early Peter Sellers, in good form.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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