6.1/10
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Rhinoceros (1974)

A boozing young man in love with his co-worker finds that everyone around him, even his pompous and condescending best friend, is changing into a rhinoceros.

Director:

Tom O'Horgan

Writers:

Eugène Ionesco (play) (as Eugene Ionesco), Julian Barry (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Zero Mostel ... John
Gene Wilder ... Stanley
Karen Black ... Daisy
Joe Silver ... Norman
Robert Weil ... Carl
Marilyn Chris ... Mrs. Bingham
Percy Rodrigues ... Mr. Nicholson
Robert Fields Robert Fields ... Young Man
Melody Santangello Melody Santangello ... Young Woman (as Melody Santangelo)
Don Calfa ... Waiter
Lou Cutell ... Cashier
Howard Morton Howard Morton ... Doctor
Manuel Aviles Manuel Aviles ... Busboy
Anne Ramsey ... Lady with Cat
Lorna Thayer ... Restaurant Owner
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Storyline

Originally an absurdist play by Eugene Ionesco, Rhinoceros tells the story of a French town plagued by rhinoceroses. These are not ordinary rhinoceroses, but people who have been victims of "rhinoceritis." Or is it something else entirely? But, why are they turning into rhinoceroses and what is Ionesco trying to tell us about society? Written by Jeff Schoner <zek@primenet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The comedy that proves people are still the funniest animals. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 January 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During the rehearsals of his transformation scene, Zero Mostel refused to break any of the props, wanting to leave the destruction until he was actually shooting the scene. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Nicholson: Stanley, what are you doing out there holding a purse?
Stanley: Well... Mrs. Bingham jumped on her husband's back and rode away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

What Did You Do To Yourself
Music by Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by Bill Dumaresq
Sung by David Lasley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You'll get a charge out of it.
26 July 2004 | by Prof_LostiswitzSee all my reviews

Rhinoceros is not the best of American Film Theatre's films, but it does grow on you. When I saw this in the cinema, I had already read Ionesco's play, so I was in a mood to be critical of every change…notably the change of setting.

Over the years, I have come to see that Ionesco can be transmogrified, and that most of the changes work quite well. Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder turn in dynamite performances, and the rest of the cast does nicely as well. Karen Black actually has the hardest job, turning her sweet and sexy character into a rhinoceros, but she carries it off gracefully. This is real acting!!

The most objectionable part comes with political references, like a picture of Richard Nixon, or a "Remember Pearl Harbor" lapel button. Not only is all this too heavy-handed, it dates the movie unnecessarily. The music is also quite low-quality 70's kitsch, especially the song "What did you do to yourself?". This song however accompanies a great dream-sequence. I must also say that the theme accompanying the final scenes is quite moving.

Ultimately, Rhinoceros is one of the great dramatic works of the twentieth century, and this movie will be for most people their only chance to see it (now that it can be bought on video). For those who don't know anything about it, it's about a town where the citizens start getting a strange malady that turns them into rhinoceroses. It starts out as a slapstick comedy of manners, but this is Ionesco's way of softening us up so we're more vulnerable to the horrific elements later on. Those of you who enjoyed Dr. Strangelove and Brazil should get a charge out of this.


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