Rabbit, Run


1h 34m 1970
Rabbit, Run

Brief Synopsis

Unhappy with his life, a former high school athlete leaves his wife for another woman.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Reading, Pennsylvania, opening: 28 Oct 1970
Production Company
Solitaire/Worldcross Productions
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Rabbit, Run by John Updike (New York, 1960).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In Reading, Pennsylvania, former high school basketball star Rabbit Angstrom is dissatisfied with both his failure to find a career and with his loveless marriage to Janice, an alcoholic who is pregnant with a child neither of them wants. Following an argument with Janice, Rabbit looks up his old basketball coach Marty Tothero, who is now living in squalor. Marty decides that Rabbit needs a woman, and he introduces him to Ruth, a part-time prostitute. When Rabbit moves in with Ruth, Jack Eccles, the family minister, tries to persuade him to return to his wife, but Rabbit refuses. Eventually, Rabbit also becomes disenchanted with Ruth, and when Janice has her baby, Rabbit goes to the hospital and effects a reconciliation. For a time, they live in relative harmony, but Janice's insistence on a less active sex life leads to bitterness, and Rabbit again takes off. Janice resumes her solitary drinking, this time with tragic results; while in a drunken stupor, she accidentally drowns the baby. Learning of his child's death, Rabbit returns home and finds that everyone holds him responsible. At the funeral, Rabbit responds to his parents' and in-laws' accusing glances by screaming his innocence. Fleeing from the cemetery, he goes to Ruth's apartment; but Ruth, who is now pregnant with his child, refuses to let him in unless he agrees to divorce Janice and marry her. Although he promises to do so, Rabbit is still unable to make a commitment to anyone and runs away again.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Reading, Pennsylvania, opening: 28 Oct 1970
Production Company
Solitaire/Worldcross Productions
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Rabbit, Run by John Updike (New York, 1960).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Rabbit, Run


"Meet Rabbit. Rabbit Angstrom. Rabbit Angstrom is everyman. Every husband. Every father. Every son. Every guy whose marriage got bogged down in dishes and diapers, and found a way out with a woman" proclaimed the trailer for Rabbit, Run (1970). Unhappy and feeling trapped, former high school basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom (James Caan) leaves the house to buy his pregnant, alcoholic wife Janice (Carrie Snodgress) a pack of cigarettes and doesn't return. He just keeps on running into the arms of another woman - a part-time prostitute named Ruth (Anjanette Comer) in a fruitless search for happiness. Also in the cast were Jack Albertson as Rabbit's former coach, and Henry Jones and Josephine Hutchinson as Rabbit's parents.

Made for Warner Bros-Seven Arts, the film was directed by Jack Smight from producer Howard B. Kreitsek's screenplay, adapted from John Updike's 1960 novel. Updike had wanted to write the screenplay but the offer did not come, which disappointed the author, as he had deliberately written the novel like a film, in present tense. Rabbit, Run was shot on location in 1969 in Updike's home town of Reading, Pennsylvania, with many locals playing extras.

John Updike said in an interview at Moravian College that while he appreciated the money received from film adaptations of his work, he felt "embarrassment and extreme unworthiness that I've caused all these gifted people - handsome actors, gorgeous actresses, gifted directors and cameramen - I've put them all in this kind of box they can't get out of, the box being my little story, whose life on paper and from thence into the mind of the reader I tried to make as real as I could, but which in the film media, becomes kind of nonsense. I thought that Rabbit, Run was too faithful to the book. The book tries to deliver a very complex message. It tries to agitate the reader about these questions of morality and domesticity and flight versus sticking with it. [...] A movie cannot engage in this kind of debate.[...] [I]t had some good performers in it. James Caan went on to good things, and Carrie Snodgress made Janice much more appealing than Ruth, and made her so appealing you didn't know what the fuss was about. So it was a very uneven, I would say, adaptation."

Rabbit, Run premiered in Reading on October 28, 1970, but the audience reaction was so bad that Warner Bros. decided not to spend the money on a wide release - or even screen it in New York. James Caan later famously said that the film wasn't released, "It escaped." Updike retained kind feelings about the film; as late as 1973, he told the New York Times that he was sorry for Caan and Snodgress, who he thought were "terrific as Rabbit and his wife, and I always had a lingering hope that some day Warner might remake some of the weak scenes and then give the movie another push."

The failure of the film did not end Updike's saga. He would revisit the character of Rabbit Angstrom in other novels; Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990).

SOURCES:

De Bellis, Jack The John Updike Encyclopedia
Hischak, Thomas S. American Literature on Stage and Screen: 525 Works and Their Adaptations
The Internet Movie Database
Negley, Erin "Rabbit, Lost" Reading Eagle 18 Mar 07
Plath, James John Updike's Pennsylvania Interviews

By Lorraine LoBianco
Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run

"Meet Rabbit. Rabbit Angstrom. Rabbit Angstrom is everyman. Every husband. Every father. Every son. Every guy whose marriage got bogged down in dishes and diapers, and found a way out with a woman" proclaimed the trailer for Rabbit, Run (1970). Unhappy and feeling trapped, former high school basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom (James Caan) leaves the house to buy his pregnant, alcoholic wife Janice (Carrie Snodgress) a pack of cigarettes and doesn't return. He just keeps on running into the arms of another woman - a part-time prostitute named Ruth (Anjanette Comer) in a fruitless search for happiness. Also in the cast were Jack Albertson as Rabbit's former coach, and Henry Jones and Josephine Hutchinson as Rabbit's parents. Made for Warner Bros-Seven Arts, the film was directed by Jack Smight from producer Howard B. Kreitsek's screenplay, adapted from John Updike's 1960 novel. Updike had wanted to write the screenplay but the offer did not come, which disappointed the author, as he had deliberately written the novel like a film, in present tense. Rabbit, Run was shot on location in 1969 in Updike's home town of Reading, Pennsylvania, with many locals playing extras. John Updike said in an interview at Moravian College that while he appreciated the money received from film adaptations of his work, he felt "embarrassment and extreme unworthiness that I've caused all these gifted people - handsome actors, gorgeous actresses, gifted directors and cameramen - I've put them all in this kind of box they can't get out of, the box being my little story, whose life on paper and from thence into the mind of the reader I tried to make as real as I could, but which in the film media, becomes kind of nonsense. I thought that Rabbit, Run was too faithful to the book. The book tries to deliver a very complex message. It tries to agitate the reader about these questions of morality and domesticity and flight versus sticking with it. [...] A movie cannot engage in this kind of debate.[...] [I]t had some good performers in it. James Caan went on to good things, and Carrie Snodgress made Janice much more appealing than Ruth, and made her so appealing you didn't know what the fuss was about. So it was a very uneven, I would say, adaptation." Rabbit, Run premiered in Reading on October 28, 1970, but the audience reaction was so bad that Warner Bros. decided not to spend the money on a wide release - or even screen it in New York. James Caan later famously said that the film wasn't released, "It escaped." Updike retained kind feelings about the film; as late as 1973, he told the New York Times that he was sorry for Caan and Snodgress, who he thought were "terrific as Rabbit and his wife, and I always had a lingering hope that some day Warner might remake some of the weak scenes and then give the movie another push." The failure of the film did not end Updike's saga. He would revisit the character of Rabbit Angstrom in other novels; Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990). SOURCES: De Bellis, Jack The John Updike Encyclopedia Hischak, Thomas S. American Literature on Stage and Screen: 525 Works and Their Adaptations The Internet Movie Database Negley, Erin "Rabbit, Lost" Reading Eagle 18 Mar 07 Plath, James John Updike's Pennsylvania Interviews By Lorraine LoBianco

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970