Genre Specific: 'John Bull on the Moon!'
|The Mouse on the Moon: Plenty of hard green cheese|
In the days of back-room boffins like Frank Whittle, the pencil-moustachioed inventor of the jet engine, the idea that the Russians - or, God forbid, the ruddy Americans! - might become dominant powers in space exploration was nothing more than a distant spectre. So what if the Yanks and Ivan had bagged all the top Nazi eggheads while Blighty tried to teach the Germans cricket? Britain could surely conquer the outer reaches of space with just vim, vigour and good humour aplenty - and if that failed, there were the countless subjugated peoples of the Empire whose vast oil and mineral wealth could be ransacked at the drop of a pith helmet. Briefly, even the British film industry had faith in a Sceptred Isle among the stars, where mind-mangling terror and awed wonder in the face of the infinite universe would be no reason to forget your Ps & Qs.
|Bumbershoots, bathyspheres and babes|
As a satire on Britain's much reduced status on the global stage, the film is close to perfect. Moreover, just as with the creaking fascist state of Gilliam's Brazil, Mouse on the Moon taps the true spirit of British endeavour, where American can-do dynamism and micro-planned Soviet techno-rigour are pitted against little Albion's own endlessly malleable engine of progress: the clerical error.
Originally published in Little White Lies