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Get to Know Your Rabbit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Get to Know Your Rabbit
Original poster
Directed byBrian De Palma
Produced bySteven Bernhardt
Paul Gaer
Written byJordan Crittenden
StarringTom Smothers
John Astin
Katharine Ross
Orson Welles
Suzanne Zenor
Samantha Jones
Allen Garfield
Music byJack Elliott
Allyn Ferguson
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Edited byFrank J. Urioste
Peter Colbert
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • June 7, 1972 (1972-06-07) (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States

Get to Know Your Rabbit is a 1972 American comedy film written by Jordan Crittenden and directed by Brian De Palma.


Corporate executive Donald Beeman, fed up with the rat race, impulsively quits his job and takes to the road as a traveling tap dancing magician under the tutelage of Mr. Delasandro. His former boss Mr. Turnbull, determined to convince him to return to his nine-to-five existence, chases after him as he performs his routine in seedy nightclubs and honky tonks, but instead the two create Tap Dancing Magicians, a course for pressured businessmen. When their little venture becomes one of the most successful corporations in the world, Donald ironically finds himself feeling the same way he did when he originally quit his job.



Brian De Palma had become successful with his 1968 underground comedy, Greetings, and was hired by Warner Bros. to direct Get to Know Your Rabbit in 1970, right after he had directed a follow-up to Greetings called Hi, Mom!. While very much a studio picture, Rabbit was in line with his films up to that time, which were mainly comedies. Much of the comedy has its roots in the traditional British absurdist sense of humor associated with the likes of Monty Python and The Goon Show. Crittenden's screenplay is filled with oddball characters and bizarre situations, such as a bomber who is put on hold when he calls to announce his device will explode in six minutes, or a beautiful young woman who confesses to Donald her crush on the paper boy prompted her to prostitute herself so she could afford a newspaper subscription.

Warner Bros. and star Tommy Smothers felt uneasy about De Palma's direction, as he was at that time an up-and-coming filmmaker with only a couple of films; according to De Palma, Smothers so disliked the film that he disappeared for a couple of shooting days and refused to return for retakes.[2] Unhappy with De Palma's cut of the film, the studio had Peter Nelson (credited onscreen as executive producer) recut it and direct a new sequence, but the film still went unreleased for a couple of years.[2] Uncertain how to market it, the studio did little to promote it and the movie quickly disappeared from theaters. The experience gave the director a distaste for the studio system, and he would not work for a major studio again for several years.

In 1973, the year after the release of Get to Know Your Rabbit, De Palma would put his focus on suspense and obsession with a horror film called Sisters. These themes would recur in much of his output in years since.


Vincent Canby of The New York Times called De Palma "a very funny filmmaker. He's most funny, so far, anyway, when he's most anarchic, and 'Get to Know Your Rabbit,' though somewhat inhibited by conventional form, has enough hilarious loose ends and sidetracks to liberate the film from its form."[3] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote, "Jordan Crittenden's original screenplay has some good ideas in it, but the implementation is mostly gross and heavy. Many sequences exist to make weak sidebar points, thereby dragging down the main story thrust which itself is weighted with concerted slapstick."[4] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times stated that despite the bad advance buzz, the film "turns out to be a very, very nice little comedy which I hope stays around long enough for the good word to multiply. It is a truly zany comedy, full of surprises and invention, and the happiest surprise is that, although the pace falters once or twice, the tone never does. And the tone is of a kind of optimistic irreverence, grownup but innocent, pointed but not savage."[5] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and reported finding it "a most leisurely and charming comedy."[6] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote, "Smothers and De Palma seem to have vastly overrated the satiric or merely humorous potential of their material, an inept 'original' screenplay by Jordan Crittenden. If the movie is any indication, the script was short on funny situations, credible characters and conflicts, bright dialogue, continuity and common sense. De Palma's shaky direction aggravates the weaknesses."[7]

See also


Bouzereau, Laurent (1988). The De Palma Cut: The Films of America's Most Controversial Director. New York: Dembner Books. ISBN 0-942637-04-6.


  1. ^ "Get to Know Your Rabbit - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Get to Know Your Rabbit - History". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 21, 1973). "Film: Anarchic Comedy". The New York Times. 49.
  4. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (June 21, 1972). "Film Reviews: Get To Know Your Rabbit". Variety. 18.
  5. ^ Champlin, Charles (June 7, 1972). "'Rabbit' Hatful of Surprises". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 1.
  6. ^ Siskel, Gene (November 7, 1972). "... Your Rabbit". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 4.
  7. ^ Arnold, Gary (December 8, 1973). "Mom Always Liked Dick Best". The Washington Post. C11.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 September 2020, at 04:25
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