Get to Know Your Rabbit
|Get to Know Your Rabbit|
|Directed by||Brian De Palma|
|Written by||Jordan Crittenden|
|Cinematography||John A. Alonzo|
Frank J. Urioste|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
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.
- Tom Smothers as Donald Beeman
- John Astin as Paul Turnbull
- Katharine Ross as Terrific-Looking Girl
- Orson Welles as Mr. Delasandro
- Susanne Zenor as Paula
- Samantha Jones as Susan
- Allen Garfield as Vic
- Hope Summers as Mrs. Beeman
- Charles Lane as Mr. Beeman
- Jack Collins as Mr. Reese
- Larry D. Mann as Mr. Seager
- Jessica Myerson as Mrs. Reese
- M. Emmet Walsh as Mr. Wendel
- Helen Page Camp as Mrs. Wendel
- Pearl Shear as Flo
- Robert Ball as Mr. Weber
- George Ives as Mr. Morris
- Anne Randall as Stewardess
- Bob Einstein as Police Officer
- King Moody as TV Reporter
- Judy Marcione as Mrs. Parsons
- Timothy Carey as Cop (uncredited)
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. He was fired from the production due to creative differences, mostly surrounding the ending of the film. Get to Know Your Rabbit was completed by the studio in 1970 but they didn't release it until two years later. 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.