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Tales of the Rat Fink

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The story of hot rod cartoonist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.

Amazon.com

Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann has specialized in making counter-cultural documentaries since 1978, and Tales of the Rat Fink is his masterpiece. Rarely has the combination of technique and subject matter been presented with such symbiotic perfection, and Mann's tribute to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth will appeal to anyone who recalls the glory days of hot rods and custom cars. Roth pioneered customizing in the late '50s, taking his cue from the legendary Von Dutch (whose automotive pinstripes "flowed like jazz") to become the first hot-rodder to sculpt custom cars out of fiberglass, the first to airbrush custom "monster" designs on T-shirts, and the inventor of Rat Fink, the "anti-Mickey Mouse" adopted as the drooling mascot of rodders, surfers, model-building hobbyists and assorted misfits throughout the '60s. Roth's best-known custom cars--The Outlaw, The Beatnik Bandit, Mysterion and others--remain timeless classics of southern California's custom-car culture, and they're all shown here on dazzling display.

It's a pity Roth (1932-2001) didn't live to witness Mann's exquisite collaboration with animator Mike Roberts, whose dynamic contributions bring Rat Fink to life in all his wretched glory. John Goodman splendidly narrates as a posthumous Roth, looking back at his creations as numerous pop-cultural icons (Ann-Margret, the Smothers Brothers, and author Tom Wolfe, who first brought Roth to the world's attention) lend their voices to custom cars that "talk" with flashing headlights, similar to (but more reverent than) Pixar's Cars. It's a perfect way of honoring Roth, the culture he created, and the enduring legacy of his "weirdo" ingenuity. Mann's playful tribute makes it perfectly clear that Roth and Rat Fink embody a creative spirit that will live forever. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Big Daddy Lives! - Rare interviews with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
  • Rat Fink Reunion - Painting Jam with Ed Roth and Von Dutch
  • Big Daddy's Garage - Virtual Art Gallery
  • Interview with Director Ron Mann
  • Deleted Scene
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • The Sadies Music Video

Product Details

  • Actors: John Goodman, Ted Rosnick, Alex Xydias, Paul Le Mat, Ann-Margret
  • Directors: Ron Mann
  • Writers: Adam Cawley, Solomon Vesta
  • Producers: Ron Mann, Bill Imperial, Martin Harbury, Michael Boyuk
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H6SY3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,427 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales of the Rat Fink" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Ron Mann is a Canadian filmmaker who specializes in documentaries about alternative culture; be it comic books with Comic Book Confidential, a famous dance craze with Twist or marijuana culture with Grass. His latest film, Tales of the Rat Fink, playfully profiles Ed "Big Daddy" Roth who helped popularize the customization of cars in the 1950s. Roth saw automobiles as much more than just modes of transportation but rather blank canvasses just waiting to be adorned with his stylish artwork or to be rebuilt from the ground up in his own unique way.

Mann does a fantastic job of taking us back to the `50s with period music and plenty of archival footage. However, his documentary is far from traditional as he has Roth narrate his own life but voiced by actor John Goodman. Mann also gives several classic cars their own voice as they tell their own story and how they contributed to hot rod car culture. It's an unusual move that takes a little getting used to but for those who have seen Mann's other documentaries it is merely a natural progression of his idiosyncratic style - kind of like Roth himself.

Mann animates still photographs and instead of having someone drone on about the different kinds of paint jobs, shows it through stylized animation techniques and footage of cars being customized. Throughout it all, he has Roth's most famous creation, Rat Fink (his answer to Mickey Mouse - a bright green mutant rat - whom he had grown tired of and created a symbol of everything that was cool and dangerous about the hot rod culture), bridges each segment via animated interludes and accompanied by the surf music of the Sadies. Tales of the Rat Fink does an excellent job immersing us in the custom car culture, how it came to be and its distinctive characteristics.
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A respectful homage to Ed Roth by those who knew , and loved him. If you are a fan ,you should have this already.
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love this inside view on big daddy's legacy...
this is kustom kulture's history & roots and a big part of today's hot rod scene.
great documentary.
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"Tales of the Rat Fink" is Ratabulous! Just makes me want to get out and "FINK" about this fine DVD to everyone! Ejoyable live footage and interviews are awsome! Seeing Von Duch doing his trademark pinstriping is a thrill. Ed Roth and his life story is well produced and there are too many surprises to mention. A big thumbs up from me!
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If you rent/purchase this expecting a provocative exposé or a reflective introspective on Ed "Big Daddy" Roth then I have to ask, "Who are you?!?" That would be akin to looking for a serious documentary about Roger Rabbit, the character.

While, admittedly, Big Daddy did influence the Custom Car Culture, which he loved dearly, his over the top antics and car builds were a caricature of the community. And much like him this documentary is very tongue-in-cheek.

Life's too short don't take it so seriously and everything will be all right!
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Maybe I was expecting more like a History Channel documentary and less like the producers were trying to stretch limited footage. Actually, most of the footage was generic and unrelated to Ed Roth's rise to fame.
Still, if you can last through the slow pacing and the tiresome Rat Fink graphics, it's a decent documentary.
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If you're a car person or artist you'll enjoy this nostalgic look back at a wonderful time in American pop culture.

Great cars and car art and pop culture history presented in a way that's fun and educational.

I was 7 or 8 when the "Rat Fink" craze was in full swing but I can recall seeing the T-Shirts and then when the model kits started coming out I built everyone I could get my hands on.
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I was so glad to find this.I remember the Rat Fink from my high school days.What a clever way to do a documentary. It ts very entertaining. We got it for one for our son ,and after I saw it ,I bought one for us. It's really good !!!
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