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Emanuel Wolfington Rat III, aka Manny, is the main antagonist of Russell Hoban's 1967 children's book The Mouse and His Child and its 1977 animated film adaptation of the same name.

In the film adaptation, he was voiced by the late Peter Ustinov, who also voiced Prince John in Disney's Robin Hood.

Biography

Book

TBA

Film

Manny the Rat makes his first appearance after the Mouse and His Child were tossed out and find themselves in the dump, and introduces himself to them while posing as an eccentric entrepreneur. He offers them a visit to the sewers where he runs a casino and his gang of rats have a party. After Manny's employed fortune-telling Frog fails to serve normal food to the point where an angered Manny fires him for it, the rat leads the Mouse and His Child to his throne room and reveals to them that he has plans to build an empire where he'll enslave broken wind-up toys to serve food to him after nobody else would feed him. It's then revealed that he has a parade of enslaved wind-ups serving food for him. However, his assistant, a dopey rat named Ralphie, shows up with a bunch of jellybeans. Manny orders him to dismantle one of his venerable slaves, a worn out toy donkey, into pieces, and he does so, which horrifies the wind-up mice. Manny then has a conversation with Ralphie and tells him to take the toy mice on a stroll to the woods and get some "treacle brittle" from the Meadow Hoard and Trust bank for him.

While relaxing in the dump, Manny hears about Ralphie's death and the toy mice's continuing journey and becomes enraged, blaming Ralphie for failing him and the Frog for taking the toy mice under his wing. But then he decides to take a red toy car to drive off to the woods and find the Mouse and His Child. After he arrives in the woods, he sneaks into the tree bank and passes himself off as a beggar, managing to bypass by knocking the squirrel out cold and thrusting his pole into the mouth of the badger who devoured Ralphie earlier. Soon, Manny drives up the path and finds the toy mice and the Frog trailing on the frozen lake, where he attempts to offer them a ride in the car with him. The Frog tells him that he needs to prophesize his future first. After hearing the Frog predict that "A dog shall rise, a rat shall fall", Manny angrily blurts out, threatening to tear his throat out if he says one more word. Suddenly, everyone is disturbed and attacked by armies of hungry weasels and marching shrews. Manny gets into a fight with the shrews, but they fend him off and he escapes.

Manny later emerges and sneaks into a theatrical stage presentation of "The Last Visible Dog", interrupting the scene and quoting Shylock from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", only to prompt the angry woodland critters in the audience to boo at him and pelt him with tomatoes as Euterpe, the actress bird, carries the Mouse and His Child off to safety.

The next day, Manny is somewhere in the woods walking down the snow in exhaustion, trying to search for the Mouse and His Child, and complains that he's been foiled by them while angrily vowing vengeance on them. The Tin-Elephant is on his path and interrupts his walk. Manny calls her out for it and also complains that he's become a laughingstock at the dump to the point where he'll never go back there, but he decides on a new scheme: He'll go back as long as he finds a way to track down the toy mice and crush them down for good in order to earn back his ways. Finally, he kicks the Elephant declaring it's his turn now, and scurries off cackling victoriously.

Later, as spring arrives, Manny proceeds to catch up with the Mouse and His Child. After the toy mice return from underwater and have a happy moment with the Frog, the Tin-Elephant and Tin-Seal, and the Kingfisher while having learned that their miracle is coming true, Manny suddenly appears without warning and ruins their moment. Due to his sheer exhaustion, he has become insane and rabid as never before, going so far as to throw a rock at the Frog and endanger the toy mice's lives by rampaging and beating them on a large boulder. Manny lifts another rock preparing for the final blow, and as the tension worsens and everyone else watches in horror, he finally slams the rock down, bludgeoning the toy mice to pieces and killing them in the process, until he stops to check for their smashed remains. Manny's mood changes and his rabidness fades as he freaks out at what he did and panics, recoiling from his victims' massacre in horror. (The Mouse and His Child would later be repaired and brought back to life by the Muskrat, with their miracle finally happening as they become self-winding.)

Manny makes his way back to the dump where his gang of rats hold most of the toys captive (including the Elephant) as he forces them to do slave labor. The rat minions invade the dollhouse (which now has an electric sign that reads "We Love You, Manny") to throw a drunken dance party while their leader watches over his slaves. Meanwhile, the wind-up mice and all their family and friends see it happen, while they plan to take down the rat empire for good. The Mouse and His Child come to the Elephant's rescue and free her while Euterpe distracts the rats. With the heroes' initial plan accomplished, chaos breaks loose as Manny sees them escape, but then he becomes very nervous when he sees them lift the can of Bonzo dog food. He immediately panics, worrying whether the Frog's earlier prophecy to him will come true. His second-in-command, a black rat named Iggy, declares war and sends the other rats to retaliate and throw spears at the gang as they fly away in the can.

The Mouse calls down a speech to the rats, reminding them that "resistance is useless", which shocks Manny even more. The heroes then throw the Frog's pendent down at the rats, and it smashes out all of Manny's teeth, humiliating him even more and hurting him at the same time. The dollhouse begins to be pulled away by rope and causes all the rats except for Iggy to fall out, with most of the rats landing on a train which carries them off and Manny getting caught by his scarf on a pole and dangling. The heroes rejoice at the rats' defeats, but suddenly, without warning, Iggy tries to crush them with the electric sign, only to end up being electrocuted on the wire and literally explode to his death. The sign falls down right past Manny, making his scarf rip and release him from the pole. Finally, Manny falls down again and hits the ground (along with the sign), which injures him even more. The Mouse Child takes pity on the now-fallen rat, who is emotionally hurt and afraid after losing everything including his teeth and his empire, and gives him the same pendant that injured him earlier. The grief-stricken Manny attempts to show forgiveness, but the Mouse Child gives him a reassuring smile before departing with his family and friends. They all leave Manny alone, who is last seen stranded and in pain as he sorrowfully looks at the pendent and gets taken aback by the inscription "You Will Succeed" before watching them in disbelief.

Trivia

  • Manny was given the full name "Emmanuel Wolfington Rat III" in the movie.
  • At the end of the book, a fallen Manny was redeemed and invited by the Mouse Child and becomes his fourth uncle, but in the movie, he was just left alone toothless and scared after the Mouse Child gives him the "You Will Succeed" pendant (and it's unknown what happened to him afterwards).
  • He was meant to be a protagonist in a proposed sequel to the book, entitled "The Return of Manny Rat".
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