The Mouse on the Moon

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The Mouse on the Moon
Motmpos.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Walter Shenson
Written by Michael Pertwee
Starring Margaret Rutherford
Bernard Cribbins
Terry-Thomas
Music by Ron Grainer
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • 1963 (1963)
Running time 100 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Mouse on the Moon is a 1963 British comedy film, an adaptation of the novel The Mouse on the Moon by Irish author Leonard Wibberley. It was directed by Richard Lester and served as the sequel to The Mouse That Roared. In it, the people of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a microstate in Europe, attempt space flight using wine as a propellant. It satirises the space race, Cold War and politics.

Peter Sellers, who had played three roles in the first film, did not return for this sequel and was replaced by Margaret Rutherford, Ron Moody and Bernard Cribbins. Likewise Leo McKern did not replay his role of Benter; this part was played by Roddy McMillan. The film also featured June Ritchie, and Terry-Thomas. David Kossoff reprised his role as Professor Kokintz.

The film makers made a biological error: in the film the specifically American songbird the bobolink is common in Grand Fenwick.

Plot[edit]

Financial disaster looms for Grand Fenwick when the current vintage of its only export, wine, starts exploding in would-be consumers' faces. Prime Minister Mountjoy (Ron Moody) decides to ask the United States for a loan, ostensibly to fund its entry in the race to the Moon, but actually to save the duchy (and install modern plumbing so he can have a hot bath). The devious politician knows that the Americans will not believe him, but will consider the half million dollars he is asking for to be cheap propaganda supporting their hollow call for international co-operation in space. He is delighted when they send him double the amount as an outright gift. The Soviets, not wishing to be one-upped by their Cold War rivals, deliver an obsolete rocket. Mountjoy asks resident scientist Professor Kokintz (David Kosoff) to arrange a small explosion during the "launch" of their lunar rocket to make it look like they have actually spent the money as intended.

Meanwhile, Mountjoy's son Vincent (Bernard Cribbins) returns after being educated in England. Mountjoy is disappointed to find that Vincent has picked up the British sense of fair play and the ambition to be an astronaut. Professor Kokintz has pleasant news for Vincent: he has discovered that the wine makes excellent rocket fuel. Together, they secretly begin preparing the rocket for flight. Maurice Spender (Terry-Thomas), a bumbling spy sent by the suspicious British, is given a tour of the ship, including the shower heads converted into attitude jets, and reports back to his bosses that it is all a hoax.

Mountjoy invites the Americans, Soviets, and British to the launching. To everyone's surprise, the rocket leisurely takes off with Kokintz and Vincent aboard. Kokintz calculates it will take three weeks to reach the Moon. Humiliated, the Americans and Soviets decide to risk sending their own manned rockets, timing it so they will land at the same time as (or a little before) Grand Fenwick's ship. However, Vincent accidentally hits a switch, speeding up the vessel, and he and Kokintz become the first to set foot on the Moon. The latecomers are greatly disappointed. When the Americans and Soviets try to race home to salvage some sort of propaganda coup, they enter the wrong ships and each descend deep into the lunar dust. The American and Soviet spacemen have to hitch a ride with Kokintz and Vincent.

They return to Grand Fenwick during a memorial ceremony (they had been out of radio contact for weeks and presumed lost). The diplomats immediately begin squabbling about who reached the Moon first.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was made on sets left over from Cornel Wilde's film Sword of Lancelot.[1] Sellers recommended Lester, whom he knew from his direction of The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film, as director. Producer Walter Shenson and director Lester next made The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night.

The film had its American premiere at Cape Canaveral, where the attending cast members met American astronauts.

Dell Publishing issued a comic book of the film.

References[edit]

  1. ^ p.13 Sinyard, Neal The Films of Richard Lester 1985 Taylor & Francis

External links[edit]