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THE MOUSE THAT ROARED ($25) is a delightfully amusing political/social satire that features the comic genius of Peter Sellers in three separate roles. The plot of THE MOUSE THAT ROARED is concerned with the worldís smallest country- The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, which occupies less than sixteen square miles of European real estate in the French Alps. Although once prosperous, Grand Fenwick finds itself on the verge of financial ruin as the film opens. Economic desperation forces government officials to hatch a rather ludicrous plot to save the country- declare war on the United States, then surrender and collect war reparations from the generous Americans, who have rebuilt the economy of every country that they have previously defeated. However, through a series of coincidences, Grand Fenwick finds itself victorious in its war with the United States and in possession of a noted scientist, as well as a prototype of the super-bomb that he has developed. In addition to the always-hilarious Peter Sellers, the cast of THE MOUSE THAT ROARED also features Jean Seberg, Leo McKern, David Kossoff and William Hartnell.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made THE MOUSE THAT ROARED available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer is very nice, but not outstanding, due to the quality of the film itself. Now I donít want to give the impression that the film elements used for the transfer are in bad shape, because they are not. However, THE MOUSE THAT ROARED is not an overly attractive looking movie, which would seem to stem from its original cinematography and the fact that the Eastmancolor processing of 1959 was less than stellar.

The image is reasonably sharp at its best, and slightly soft looking at its worst. Colors can appear a bit drab, but they are never faded or pale. Reds and greens tend to be vibrant, but most of the other hues seem a little flat, which probably has more to do with how early Eastmancolor film stocks registered and printed colors, as opposed to a flaw in the transfer. Blacks appear a bit off as well, occasionally appearing a bit milky, which throws off the grayscale somewhat. As I stated above, the film elements themselves are in good shape, displaying few blemishes, although one will notice a grain structure during much of the proceeding. Digital compression artifacts maintain a low profile throughout. Despite the above nits that Iíve picked, THE MOUSE THAT ROARED remains completely watchable and wholly enjoyable.

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED comes with a perfectly serviceable Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Almost all of the appreciable background hiss and surface noise has been cleaned up from the track, leaving one with a pleasant enough aural experience. Of course, fidelity is limited, which affects the filmís musical score- leaving it kind of reedy sounding. Dialogue is always fully intelligible, which is the most important aspect of this talky comedy. No other language tracks are encoded onto the DVD, but English and French subtitles are provided. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as trailers for THE MOUSE THAT ROARED, DR. STRANGELOVE and DONíT RAISE THE BRIDGE, LOWER THE RIVER.

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED is a delightful film showcasing the comic genius of Peter Sellers. Columbiaís DVD edition of the film looks and sounds fine, but certainly isnít going to make anyoneís jaw drop. Still, if you are a comedy or Peter Sellers fan, you will definitely want to check out THE MOUSE THAT ROARED on DVD.



The Mouse That Roared (1959)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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