Who is this minor character in "The Mouse that Roared"

There is a scene in the movie that shows something like a version of the Telephone game, where a message passed on from one person to the next is exaggerated and distorted. It is supposed to represent how reports of a few guys in chain mail armor in Central Park got turned into rumors of a Martian invasion of thousands.

The scene ends with what seems designed as some kind of visual pun, which I don’t get because I don’t recognize the person. The second to last person in the chain turns to him and says something like, “Thousands of Martians in Central Park!”, and the fuy replied, “I know, I know.” Then the is a brief lingering closup of the guy. It seems as this is some actor doing a cameo appearance, and we are supposed to recognizr him from some other role he had in some alien sci-fi or horror flick.

He looks somewhat like Tony Perkins, but I can can’t find any link between his name and the movie name. And if it IS Perkins, what movie are we supposed to be reminded of?

Any true Peter Sellars movie geeks out there?

Alas, that’s one of the DVDs I left at home.

They zoom in close on the character because you are supposed to recognize him as one of the men that encountered the chainmailed soldiers in Central Park, one of the fellows wearing radiation suits. In the previous scene he had been forced down into the shelter by the troops in the streets because they thought he was a civilian since he had taken off the radiation suit.

Problem is that you barely see the character out of his radiation suit before the telephone game scene so it is hard to recognize him.

I watched this last night on TCM. It’s been, well, a “few” years since I last saw it.

Went to IMDB to look up all the minor actors I spotted but the listing is quite incomplete. (And loaded with those baloney “scenes deleted” entries. Sheesh.)

Lots of the standard “Shepperton late 1950s” crew. (Including the little bald guy from “Benny Hill” in the Fenwick army.) Imagine watching “Love Actually” forty years from now: “Hey, isn’t that That Guy from That Thing?” or “Wasn’t he a Dr. Who?”

The American cast outside of the principals was even less recognizable. I don’t think there’s any chance of getting an ID on the decontamination/telephone game guy.

Off-topic notes:

Jean Seaberg. Beautiful, tragic life, terrible comic actress.
Leo McKern. One of the all time greats in comedy and drama.
The guy who played Mountjoy was good. Not so much the guy who played Tully or the ugly gal who played the Grand Duchess.

Not a “big” film by any means, but a timeless classic.

Well, The Duchy of Grand Fenwick isn’t a very big place after all.

That’s probably it, and I didn’t see that part of the movie the other night – I tuned in later. Though I’ve seen it several times, I didn’t consider an appearance in an earlier scene.

Now that Alistair has nailed it, I remember the scene and concur. That’s the joke.

It’s a cute little movie, but you ought to read the book!

I remember now too.

I like this sort of film. Not only the comedies, but many of the other films of the era. Granted, they were made before I was born; but I still caught a lot of them on TV when I was growing up. (Aside: Anyone remember The Family Film Festival on KTLA-5, hosted by ‘Popeye’ Tom Hatten?) I think a lot of people who wouldn’t normally watch 1950s bedroom comedies, capers, satires, etc. would like them if they gave them a chance.

A case in point: The director of our aborted film is 29. He likes modern rap and hard rock. He likes violent films (he favourite is Léon – a really, really good film IMO). One Wednesday Night Barbecue we decided to watch The Mouse That Roared on DVD. It surprised me that he’d asked to see it. As we watched he said, ‘Why don’t they make movies like this anymore?’ Totally not the kind of film I’d think of him liking!

I think it would be fun to make a film in the late-'50s/early-'60s style. It would be so different from today’s style it might just be refreshing. (Or it could be an utter failure. But I’d like to try.) I have the title sequence written.

And to back up ftg, Jean Seberg was a total hottie. She was good in Breathless too.

Well, then let me list a few other small British comedies that I kind of lump together with TMTR. They all seem to be about big powers/people trying to crush little powers/people, but they can’t quite manage somehow.

Passport to Pimlico – an ancient royal charter is found that grants a bit of London to a minor royal. The residents find the descendent and declare an independent kingdom. The British government blockades the neighborhood to try forcing them back into the fold. Really witty, lots of fun. I don’t think there’s anyone in it I’ve ever heard of.

The Man in the White Suit – Alec Guiness plays a chemist who develops an indestructible fabric that repels all dirt and liquids. Everyone in the garment industry promptly begins trying to destroy him to protect their jobs – management and union leaders alike.

Let’s Kill Uncle – A boy inherits his father’s estate. His uncle tells him straight out that he will kill the boy to get his money, but other adults don’t believe him. The boy amd jis girlfriend have the bright idea to kil Uncle FIRST. The whole move is basically ambushes and close escapes.

You didn’t recognise Magaret Rutherford? She was the Professor who authenticated the treaty.

Not Hermione Baddeley? She was the larger maid in the movie “Mary Poppins” and appeared on numerous sitcoms.

Not Stanley Holloway? Eliza’s father in “My Fair Lady”?

OK, OK, I’m not an expert on British Film. Yes, I saw My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins. I’m sure I’ve seen Margaret Rutherford in something. Ahe always played some kind of sweet doddering old lady, right?

Sheesh, forgive me for making an adlib comment.

Man, I haven’t seen that one in like 20 years! I’ll have to pick it up for the collection.

Amazingly, I’ve only seen The Mouse That Roared as a stage production in junior high, when I fell madly in love with the ninth-grader who played Tully! Must now Google him and see whatever became of him! Of course, now you’ve given me more films to add to my daughter’s Netflix lineup…

Better yet, read some of author Leonard Wibberley’s other books. Although he wrote at least two sequels, The Mouse on The Moon and the Mouse on Wall Street, I think his Mouse stories are not his best writing. My personal favorites are The Elephant Boy (no relation to the Elephant Man or the Kipling story/movie) and A Feast of Freedom. Both are excellent satires on political science and philosophy, but, alas, are out of print.

The Mouse on the Moon was also filmed, though it didn’t have nearly the charm or wit of the first film.

Was it Wibberly who wrote The Short Reign of Pippin IV, or am I just mixing up two royal-comedic novels I read at about the same time (about age 12, as I remember)?

This one, by Steinbeck?

Don’t the Austin Powers movies count?

No. I’m talking about the ‘look’ of the film, not the characters.