Vilmos Zsigmond, RIP – A Classic (Now Unearthed!!!) Film Remembered – Rat Fink

It’s seriously sad to start a year which sees the passing one of cinema’s greatest Cinematographers. The work of Vilmos Zsigmond, along with his friend Laszlo Kovacs, seriously should be known to everyone who visits this blog for their contributions to Cinema starting with their filming of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which was finally unleashed to the world via CBS in 1961. Zsigmond’s work for films including Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Rose, The Deer Hunter, and numerous others is legendary, and those who follow the Scene should already know his start in Hollywood with a number of Cult Classics which paved his way to his deserved place in Film History.

He was 85 and still active with his work.

Just to bring the reader back to where his adventures in The US started, this is the trailer to the film featuring what I consider to be the greatest performance of Arch Hall, Jr. – the powerful The Sadist!

His work on Wild Guitar and the Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies continued the evolution of his skills as he worked with Ray Dennis Steckler. In the Mid 60’s, he went onto further work with the Director of The Sadist, James Landis, both with Hall and other work including Something Weird Video favorite Jennie Wife/Child and the film in focus here, which remains one of the most wanted titles of classic Exploitation fans around the world to be found and seen. Followers of the Scene should be familiar with other titles like Mondo Mod (working with Laszlo once again), Futz, Psycho a Go Go, The Name of the Game is Kill, Five Bloody Graves, and Satan’s Sadists as well.

Here, he’s credited as William Zsigmond, and the trailer showed that he was already on his way to being a legend.

Rat Fink is a story of a singer (Schuyler Hayden of Riot on Sunset Strip) who happens to be a serious play-around who advanced himself to Hollywood through monies he stole from an older woman he had a fling with and gets involved with his Agent’s Wife  (Warrene Ott – a noted TV actress and in The Undertaker and His Pals) and (DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUUUH!!!!) a Teenage fan who he gets pregnant (Judy Hughes). Cue getting the girl to a Vet for an abortion and dealing with the Agent’s wife leading to a sad end for the “Rat Fink” singer. Don Snyder from The Incredibly Strange Creatures… also gets an appearance as the ill fated  competition.

For 1965, this was some controversial stuff, resulting in a limited success. After it’s initial release, Mike Ripps was the one to promote it all the way under the title Wild and Willing!

FRESNO-CO-10-1-65

FRESNO-CO-10-8-65

10-8 and 10-8-1965, Fresno, CA. The second week already showed where this film was going to go. This made A Hard Day’s Night look like a stroll on easy street! (I love A Hard Day’s Night, but I could not resist saying that).

KANSAS-CITY-9-25-65-RAT-1

KANSAS-CITY-9-25-65-RAT-2

KANSAS-CITY-9-25-65-RAT-3

9-25-65, Kansas City

CORPUS-CHRISTI-11-11-66-STECKLER

11-11-66, Corpus Christi – A very fitting double with Ray Dennis Steckler’s classic The Thrill Killers (my favorite of his films!)

SAN-BERNARDINO-11-11-66-RAT

SAN-BERNARDINO-11-16-66-RAT

11-16-66, WOW!!! The CDA release with The Fat Black Pussycat.

NEWPORT-RI-4-28-67

4-28-67, Newport, Rhode Island – The 17-Year-Old fling hinted in this ad.

SEDALIA-MO-11-10-67

11-10-67, Sedalia, MO

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~ by screen13 on January 4, 2016.

4 Responses to “Vilmos Zsigmond, RIP – A Classic (Now Unearthed!!!) Film Remembered – Rat Fink”

  1. Hello and THANK YOU so much for posting this incredibly informative article. It is sad we missed the director and that we have also been trying to find Rat Fink IN ANY FORMAT for thirty years.

    My name is Melanie, my partner and I run a 16mm film archive and are currently creating a documentary about this particularly strange and perhaps forever missing film.

    In short, we are in contact with Schuyler Hayden’s kin and we are in dire need of any information at all. We are looking to return this film and allow it to be in its proper hands… As one copy was mysteriously burned in a fire.

    T. Shane Doyle and I can be found under “Rarer Emptyprizes” across the web. We would like to interview you actually.

    Give us a call >> 1(507)400-FINK (3465)

    Thank you – WOW!

    • Many thanks! I will try to set some good time for the interview. Hopefully some more information, or even more ads, will show up soon.

  2. RAT FINK will be released on Blu-ray shortly from 35mm.

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