The Mouse That Roared (1959)

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Released 18-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 79:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jack Arnold

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Peter Sellers
Jean Seberg
David Kossoff
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Edwin Astley

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Does anyone want to work out just how long ago 1959 was? Neither do I. Despite its age I found the humour and in particular the story line as fresh and relevant as the day the final production print was struck. I must admit to being a fan of Peter Sellers; his style of humour and mine are very much in accord. In documentaries that I have seen on his life he seems to have been one of those geniuses who are on the edge. He was a driven man, though this does not come through in his films, other than in their high standards.

    Peter Sellers plays three parts in this film. The first is the Grand Duchess Gloriana XII, the second is the scheming prime minister, while the third is the man in charge of the small and very ineffective army.

    The story is based on the novel of the same name by the Irish author, Leonard Wibberley. It is a wonderful satire based on a very simple premise. It would appear that any country that declares war on the United States and loses, is subsequently flooded with money and help. Grand Fenwick is the world's smallest country, located somewhere in Europe. It appears not to have changed greatly since its founding in the middle ages. Its army still use the long bow and wear chain mail.

    This small country is happy to allow the world to pass it by until its only export, a locally produced wine, is forced from the market in America by a copy. They send protests to the American government but receive no reply. The only option left is, of course, to declare war. They do this with their eyes wide open, and the intention to lose without even firing a shot. They organise a raiding party from the local populace, headed by the hereditary leader of the army. They head off to America in a very small boat, with the intention of surrendering the minute they set foot on American soil. The story continues its comedic trip and along the way picks up a scientist and his beautiful daughter and the attention of every nation on earth. The satire is wonderful and, at times, fairly biting.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Unfortunately the age of this film is reflected in this transfer.

    The film is presented at 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite soft. Stationary objects lack detail, and moving objects become nothing more than a blur. Watch the prime minister's hand as it moves up and down at 9:50 for a clear example. Shadow detail is pretty good for a film this age, and is really only lacking by a tiny amount. Blacks are also pretty good. There is a problem with the brightness: it strobes throughout the film and can become quite distracting. The wall behind the duchess at 7:57 is a particularly bad example. There is a large amount of low level noise generated by the grain present in the film.

    The colours are muted, there is a particular look to films of this period and this film is a classic example of that.

    There are no occasions where the scene breaks up into macro blocking, but there are problems in the background, again created by the clearly visible grain. Scene changes, rather than blocking, as is usual when there is over-compression, lose definition, becoming even softer than the normal frames. The scene change just after 9:50 shows this clearly when single stepped. There is no aliasing. There is some wobble - the image jumps in various directions by a small amount every couple of frames. Whether this is a problem from the camera, or the telecine, is impossible to tell. There is a lot of grain and a reasonable number of specks, marks, and various bits of dirt, but I have seen far worse than what we see here.

    The subtitles do not keep up with the dialogue, and at times are quite severely paraphrased. So much so that at times the humour is almost lost.

    This is a single layer disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five audio tracks on this disc, all of them Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. They are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

    There are no problems with the dialogue quality with everything that is said being easy to understand.

    The audio sync was correct.

    The music sits behind the dialogue and never intrudes, but it does underline the punch lines, and adds a great deal to the humorous lines and situations.

    The surrounds and the subwoofer have nothing to do during this film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    A simple static menu with no audio, with a picture of each of the three characters played by Peter Sellers.

Theatrical trailer

    The trailer is presented at something between 2.35:1 and 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is in poor condition with lots of film artefacts. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound track.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc has not yet been released. There is a region 2 release that is similar to ours, differing only in the addition of trailers for Dr Strangelove and Murder by Death.


    It is interesting to note that there is a sequel to both the film and the book, though Peter Sellers appears in neither. While not his best film, it is still an enjoyable 79 odd minutes with a number of scenes that will stay in your mind for quite a while.

    Considering its age the video is acceptable.

    The audio is clear.

    The extras are an interesting example of just how corny trailers used to be.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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