Mouse That Roared [1959]

The Mouse That Roared (1959) is mostly remembered as a tour-de-force by a peerless comic actor, Peter Sellers, playing all three of the principal roles. It's worth seeing for that reason alone, but the film is also one of the most memorable satires of nuclear geopolitics produced during the cold war and, along with another Sellers vehicle, Dr. Strangelove, provides an unbeatable illustration of the paranoia and helplessness engendered by that period. The Mouse That Roared tells the story of the fictional European principality of Grand Fenwick. Finding itself on the wrong end of a trade dispute with the United States, and noting America's generosity in rebuilding the countries it had fought in World War II, Grand Fenwick's rulers hit upon the idea of declaring war on the U.S., losing, and then reaping a Marshall Plan-style handout. The plan, proposed by Grand Fenwick's prime minister (played by Peter Sellers), is approved by the monarch (also played by Peter Sellers), who dispatches an invasion force under the command of Grand Fenwick's hapless Field Marshal (also played by Peter Sellers). Due to a series of happenstances and misunderstandings, however, Grand Fenwick's plan goes terribly wrong... --Andrew Mueller

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