I Saw A Film!
This 1963 follow-up to A Mouse that Roared no longer has Peter Sellers (playing any, let alone multiple roles) and while the story is more fun in that very dry British humor sense, it’s much harder to follow. It’s much like trying to glean action from reading dialog. Almost everything, in other words, is just chained together satire of the thinnest, and still quite amusing variety. What I’m saying is there isn’t much in the way of visuals here, and as a movie, rather than a fun play or novel, the film is a tad tiresome. It’s very easy to wander and forget who’s talking and which thread of the joke is being played with.
Grand Fenwick is broke, and the leaders decide to ask America for a small loan of about a half-million (calculated as to be too small an amount to matter to America) to bolster their space program. America, without hesitation, sends along a million! as a gift, and Russia, for no apparent reason, donates an old rocket. Meanwhile, Grand Fenwick’s one export (making them all their cash) is wine which has become dangerously volatile (literally exploding in folk’s faces) and the son of the ruler has returned from his English studies with a desire to be an astronaut, saying the best way to pretend to have a space program is to have an actual space program. Jolly good. The rocket is arranged to look serviceable. Shower heads pass as heading adjusters, but, the racket is quickly sussed out. No one thinks Grand Fenwick is leaving Earth anytime soon. Though our enjoyable scientist apparently has worked out more accounting and nuts and bolts than we realize and sure enough, Grand Fenwick launches a spacecraft. Much to the surprise of everyone except perhaps our astronaut played by Bernard Cribben in an especially gawky role. The Russians and Americans get off their keisters and suddenly launch their own Lunar missions but are beat to the punch by the jaunty little nation.
The trouble with the film, as I mentioned, is that much of it takes place in dingy quarters. There’s not much to look at, and the talents of these mighty clever actors (and they are clever) is sort of wasted. It’s a bit like a mime act where we have great laughable content but so little for the actors to work with it just lulls us to distraction. Yes yes, quite. Still with such a wonderfully delicious little premise, and the wholesale pomp of the proud little nation, it’s hard not to be charmed. Charm this thing has. Loads of charm.
On Prime for naught.