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Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)

 -  Comedy  -  June 1972 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 332 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 12 critic

A young businessman goes to a magic expert to learn hardness and skill with his cynical and greedy collaborators. He becomes a very good tap dancer, but will he be able to get free of his old boss?

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Title: Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)

Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Donald Beeman
...
Mr. Turnbull
Susanne Zenor ...
Paula (as Suzanne Zenor)
Samantha Jones ...
Susan
...
Vic
...
Terrific-Looking Girl
...
Mr. Delasandro
...
Mrs. Beeman
Jack Collins ...
Mr. Reese
George Ives ...
Mr. Morris
Robert Ball ...
Mr. Weber
...
Mr. Wendel
Helen Page Camp ...
Mrs. Wendel
Pearl Shear ...
Flo
...
Mr. Beeman
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Storyline

Un giovane uomo d'affari si reca da un esperto di magia e giochi di prestigio per apprendere sicurezza ed abilità nel gestire i rapporti con i suoi cinici e gretti collaboratori. Diventa un ottimo ballerino di tip-tap. Ma...basterà questo per liberarsi dalle grinfie del suo vecchio boss ? Written by rosebud6

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Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R
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Release Date:

June 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Get to Know Your Rabbit  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Brian De Palma was fired from this film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Katharine Ross, drop those hot pants
8 February 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Get to Know Your Rabbit' is far from a great movie, but it's a quirky film that tells an unusual story in an original way. Best of all, there's a very sexy performance by Katharine Ross, plus good performances by Orson Welles and several other cast members. I'm surprised that this hasn't become a cult movie. (One of the cast members is Allen Garfield: there seems to be an unwritten commandment that every movie with Allen Garfield in the cast must develop a cult following.)

Rising young executive Donald Beeman (Tommy Smothers) abruptly decides that high wages and corporate prestige are not what he really wants, so he quits his job with high-powered boss Turnbull (the brilliant John Astin) and sets forth in a new career as a tap-dancing magician, mentored by the mysterious Dell'assandro (Orson Welles, giving one of the best performances of his career as a dodgy parlour-tricks conjuror: a role which is clearly dear to Welles's heart). Dell'assandro tutors Beeman in the rules of magic: the title of this movie is one of his trade secrets.

There aren't a lot of job opportunities for tap-dancing magicians, so Donald performs his act in seedy little nightclubs and juke joints all over the country. The production quality is slipshod all through this film: throughout the movie, Donald is supposed to be performing in many different venues, but it's obvious that all of these sequences were filmed on the same set. The idea of someone tap-dancing and performing magic tricks both at once is very funny, but this film drops the gag. In one sequence, we see Dell'assandro (played in this shot by Welles's body double, with his back to the camera) tutoring a roomful of students in the dual art of conjuring and tap-dancing simultaneously ... this would have been very funny if Welles's double and the others were actually tap-dancing: instead, they're just clomping up and down in crude unison while they do some very simple tricks with handkerchiefs and rings.

While Donald takes his act on the road, he meets a gorgeous young woman who takes a romantic interest in him, and vice versa. She is played by Katharine Ross, who is meltingly beautiful here ... and wearing one of the sexiest outfits I've ever seen on any woman, anywhere, in any film. The only flaw in her outfit is a ridiculous pair of floral-print hot pants: she'd look a lot sexier if she got rid of those hot pants. (Phworr!) Ross gives a good performance but her role is badly and thinly written. Her character doesn't seem to be a person in her own right: she only seems to exist to fulfil Donald's romantic fantasies of having a girlfriend. The fact that Ross's character has no name (she's listed in the credits as 'the terrific-looking girl') only emphasises the skimpiness of her character.

John Astin gives a brilliant performance, hilarious and yet touching, as Donald's boss whose business fails after Donald's departure, and who attempts to start his executive career all over again with only a desk and a paper clip. The scene in which Astin explains the significance of a paper clip to Tommy Smothers is truly a splendid piece of acting, with Astin balancing comedy and pathos remarkably. When I met John Astin (at the dedication ceremony of the Lucille Lortel Theatre, in New York City) he told me that this was one of his favourite roles.

There are good performances by George Ives (whom I fondly recall from the 'Mister Roberts' TV series) and King Moody in small roles, and a splendidly deadpan performance by Bob Einstein (the under-rated brother of the over-rated Albert Brooks). There's also a very fine performance by veteran character actor Charles Lane as Smothers's father. Lane gave small but gem-like performances in a huge number of important films (the opening shot in 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington' is a close-up of Charles Lane ... and that one shot is Lane's entire part in the film) but he gives one of his best performances here. Unfortunately, Tommy Smothers is only barely competent as the story's central character. Smothers was never one of my favourite comedians, yet I recognise his considerable skill as a comedian and a musician. But he's no actor, and the casting of Smothers in the lead role seriously compromises this movie.

I usually dislike Brian De Palma's movies, due to his penchant of 'borrowing' images and devices from much more talented directors. 'Get to Know Your Rabbit' is one of De Palma's more original efforts, and so it's one of his better films. (I've heard an unconfirmed rumour that De Palma directed less than half of this film.) There's one pretentious camera angle early in the movie, pointing straight down from the ceiling of Donald Beeman's flat, to show Tommy Smothers as a prisoner in a labyrinth ... but it raises a laugh and it's valid to the character on screen.

Katharine Ross is incredibly sexy in this movie, but she has almost nothing to do except stand there and look sexy. I'll rate 'Get to Know Your Rabbit' 4 points out of 10.


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