22 March 2009 | Quinoa1984
might be the most bizarre film Brian De Palma directed - and that's saying a lot!
Get to Know Your Rabbit remains to this day one of the hardest of Brian De Palma's films to track down on video (it was released in the 80s, never on DVD), but it may be understandable as to why. It has no real "name" stars save for Orson Welles and maybe Katharine Ross (Tom Smothers is a Smothers brother, so there's that, but they're not well known today), and it hasn't really found an audience for itself as a cult film like Hi, Mom or Phantom of Paradise (arguably still De Palma's best satires). It's an oddity of a find, and not just because of its title or cover art. This movie is just a big bag of weird, but there's enough that makes it work, and enough that's funny, to say that it's worth trying to find if you are one of those movie geeks that likes to track down every work, minor or otherwise, a particular director has made.
It's about, in the simplest of terms (as if in a pitch) a businessman played by Smothers decides to leave his mundane job to become a magician- and not just that, but a tap-dancing magician tutored by the great Delasandro. He breaks up with his kind of bi-polar girlfriend and gets his magician "license", traveling on the road - but then an old boss at his old job is broke and in trouble, and then gets to idea to market him... with insane results. Everything with Orson Welles is golden, pure awesome, and there's some really inspired camera tricks even for De Palma (of course we get split-screen but there's other stuff as well that will surprise you). But what works for the movie best is also it's biggest 'what-the-hell' factor: the script. This is such an original piece of work that one can see why De Palma, working from the material or creating and building on it more, got fired towards the end of production: one cannot imagine a studio like Warner Brothers bankrolled or OK'd what this movie is, which is an insane and kind of jolly satire on magicians and corporate interests.
But, for all its faults (and some of it is just the mind-boggling kind), it's very entertaining, maybe more than it has any right to be. It's not a "holy-grail" lost gem, and at the same time you wont hopefully feel too cheated if you already like De Palma's warped sense of humor, especially in his pre-Carrie days.