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Get to Know Your Rabbit is ripe for rediscovery as one of Brian De Palma's earliest and most entertaining films. Filmed in 1970 after De Palma's previous indie-films Greetings (1968) and Hi Mom! (1970), then held in limbo and only barely released in 1972, this countercultural comedy is fueled by the same irreverent, anti-establishment attitude that made Easy Rider so phenomenally popular. It's as freshly relevant as ever, with the same quality of whimsical absurdity that you'll find in similar comedies of the time like Norman Lear's Cold Turkey (1971), another memorable gem that's due for rediscovery. Before finding his niche in Hitchcockian thrillers, De Palma was aiming for something more comedically subversive (as a result, this film suffered from studio tinkering to make it more commercially appealing), but he still managed to capture just the right combination of satire and slapstick in telling the tale of Donald Beeman (a perfect role for Tommy Smothers), a corporate drone who quits his well-paying job and reinvents himself as a tap-dancing magician with the help of an aging illusionist played (in a sloshed parody of himself) by Orson Welles. As ridiculous as it seems, Beeman's new life suits him just fine while his former boss (hilariously played by TV's Addams Family star John Astin) recovers from a precipitous downfall and turns tap-dancing magic acts into a self-help cottage industry! With a bevy of familiar costars including character actor Allen Garfield and a young, cheerful Katharine Ross (then on the verge of stardom, and appropriately billed as "A Really Terrific Looking Girl"), Get to Know Your Rabbit meanders amiably on its merry way, scoring as many comedic misses as hits as Beeman finds the life he's looking for, but it's got a timeless charm that anyone can relate to... even De Palma's latter-day fans.

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WAA17972 Get To Know Your Rabbit DVD (1972/Smothers Brothers) $19.95