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Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)

R | | Comedy | 7 June 1972 (USA)
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Young business executive has a change of heart and becomes a struggling but happy tap dancing magician. His old boss ends up ruined without his best employee, but finds a way to bounce back by commercializing his idea.

Director:

Brian De Palma
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Smothers ... Donald Beeman
John Astin ... Mr. Turnbull
Katharine Ross ... Terrific-Looking Girl
Orson Welles ... Mr. Delasandro
Susanne Zenor ... Paula (as Suzanne Zenor)
Samantha Jones ... Susan
Allen Garfield ... Vic
Hope Summers ... Mrs. Beeman
Charles Lane ... Mr. Beeman
Jack Collins ... Mr. Reese
Larry D. Mann ... Mr. Seager
Jessica Myerson ... Mrs. Reese
M. Emmet Walsh ... Mr. Wendel
Helen Page Camp Helen Page Camp ... Mrs. Wendel
Pearl Shear Pearl Shear ... Flo
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Storyline

Successful young marketing analyst, Donald Beeman, quits his well paying job to follow his unusual secret passion and become a professional tap dancing magician. In protest, his fiancee leaves him. Freed from obligations to anyone but himself, Beeman turns to his eccentric idol, the great Delasandro, who teaches him the secret art of tap-dancing and magic. Excited, Beeman goes on a tour but ends up performing mostly in seedy bars as no one really cares about tap-dancing magicians as much as he does. However, Beeman finds this uncertainty liberating and soon meets a cute fangirl, who steals his heart. Meanwhile, his old boss, Mr. Turnbull, suffers a mental breakdown, turns to booze and lechery and ends up broke, ruined and homeless. Sympathetic Beeman helps him out, inadvertently giving Turnbull a new business idea that, ironically, turns Beeman into a full blown corporate symbol. Written by rosebud6

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beeman, el magnífico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Mr. Delasandro: Now then, I'm the heckler, right? I've been needling you for the last ten minutes, right? Time now for you to strike back with all the style and wits at your command.
Donald Beeman: Up yours, fella!
Mr. Delasandro: Not bad. Not bad.
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User Reviews

 
Katharine Ross, drop those hot pants
8 February 2003 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee 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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