The Rabbit Trap (1959)

72 mins | Drama | June 1959

Director:

Philip Leacock

Writer:

J.P. Miller

Producer:

Harry Kleiner

Cinematographer:

Irving Glassberg

Editor:

Ted J. Kent

Production Designer:

Edward Carrere

Production Company:

Canon Productions
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HISTORY

The print viewed ended just as "the Colts" arrived at the clearing where the rabbit trap was hidden. Information from publicity materials and reviews add that the trap was empty. Reviews compared the small, character-driven film to the 1955 United Artists release Marty (see above) which, like The Rabbit Trap , starred Ernest Borgnine and was derived from a teleplay.
       According to a 22 Jul 1958 HR news item, United Artists lodged a protest against Parkwood Enterprises and Heath Productions because their film The Trap , which had just gone into production for release by Paramount, bore a title too similar to The Rabbit Trap . Despite the protest, the title of The Trap (see below) was not ... More Less

The print viewed ended just as "the Colts" arrived at the clearing where the rabbit trap was hidden. Information from publicity materials and reviews add that the trap was empty. Reviews compared the small, character-driven film to the 1955 United Artists release Marty (see above) which, like The Rabbit Trap , starred Ernest Borgnine and was derived from a teleplay.
       According to a 22 Jul 1958 HR news item, United Artists lodged a protest against Parkwood Enterprises and Heath Productions because their film The Trap , which had just gone into production for release by Paramount, bore a title too similar to The Rabbit Trap . Despite the protest, the title of The Trap (see below) was not changed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jul 1959.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Jul 59
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 1958
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 59
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 1958
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1958
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Jul 59
p. 325.
New York Times
15 Aug 59
p. 48.
Newsweek
10 Aug 1959.
---
Variety
8 Jul 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the teleplay "The Rabbit Trap" by J. P. Miller on Goodyear Television Playhouse (NBC, 13 Feb 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1959
Production Date:
23 June--mid July 1958 at Universal-International Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Anne Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1959
Copyright Number:
LP15206
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Length(in feet):
6,922
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19133
SYNOPSIS

On vacation for the first time in several years, construction draftsman Eddie Colt takes his young son Duncan into a countryside clearing near Deep Springs where they set up a small wooden trap in hope of capturing a rabbit. When Duncan expresses concern about injuring the animal, Eddie assures his son that the trap is safe as they only wish to make friends with the rabbit, not do it any harm. In Los Angeles, after a heated discussion with his supervisor, Eddie’s boss Everett Spellman orders young secretary Judy to summon Eddie to return to the office the next day. Aghast at Spellman’s callousness, Judy claims she has no idea where the Colts are staying, but knowing they live in the same building with Judy’s family, Spellman coerces her into getting the information. When Judy again lies in an attempt to spare Eddie, Spellman scolds her and, near tears, Judy abruptly flings herself into her boss’s arms. Taken aback, Spellman tells Judy she is young and reminds her that he is married, then insists that she contact Eddie. As dusk arrives in the countryside, Eddie and Duncan return to their modest cabin where Eddie and his wife Abby lie outside in the grass, gazing at the stars. A campsite manager interrupts the couple’s idyll to give Eddie Spellman’s message. Dismayed, Abby suggests Eddie pretend he did not receive the message, but he refuses. Now angered, Abby admits she was proud of Eddie for finally demanding a two-week vacation, only the third he has taken in eight years. Eddie explains that Spellman counts on him and he must prove himself ... +


On vacation for the first time in several years, construction draftsman Eddie Colt takes his young son Duncan into a countryside clearing near Deep Springs where they set up a small wooden trap in hope of capturing a rabbit. When Duncan expresses concern about injuring the animal, Eddie assures his son that the trap is safe as they only wish to make friends with the rabbit, not do it any harm. In Los Angeles, after a heated discussion with his supervisor, Eddie’s boss Everett Spellman orders young secretary Judy to summon Eddie to return to the office the next day. Aghast at Spellman’s callousness, Judy claims she has no idea where the Colts are staying, but knowing they live in the same building with Judy’s family, Spellman coerces her into getting the information. When Judy again lies in an attempt to spare Eddie, Spellman scolds her and, near tears, Judy abruptly flings herself into her boss’s arms. Taken aback, Spellman tells Judy she is young and reminds her that he is married, then insists that she contact Eddie. As dusk arrives in the countryside, Eddie and Duncan return to their modest cabin where Eddie and his wife Abby lie outside in the grass, gazing at the stars. A campsite manager interrupts the couple’s idyll to give Eddie Spellman’s message. Dismayed, Abby suggests Eddie pretend he did not receive the message, but he refuses. Now angered, Abby admits she was proud of Eddie for finally demanding a two-week vacation, only the third he has taken in eight years. Eddie explains that Spellman counts on him and he must prove himself worthy in order to advance professionally. When Abby counters that others have been promoted above him, Eddie tells her that the man with less seniority received a promotion only because he had a college degree. Pointing out that since he does not have a degree, he must work all the harder, Eddie prepares to return to Los Angeles. Disappointed and weary, Abby reflects that because Eddie is too compliant and easily manipulated all their dreams, including that of having another child, have stagnated. The Colts drive back to Los Angeles that night and although it is late, Duncan insists that Eddie fulfill his promise to read to him about Hiawatha. As Eddie describes Hiawatha’s interaction with wild animals, Duncan abruptly recalls that they departed without opening the rabbit trap and is horrified at the thought of a trapped rabbit starving to death. When Abby orders Duncan to bed, he demands a resolution about the trap, but Eddie says they cannot return. Distressed, Duncan accuses Eddie of lying when he vowed they would not hurt a rabbit. Later, Abby says she could drive back with Duncan, but Eddie says the boy would never recall the location of the trap, then refuses Abby’s suggestion that he ask Spellman for the day off. The next morning Eddie is disappointed when Duncan does not appear for breakfast. Although they are interrupted by the arrival of Judy’s parents with their grandbaby, Eddie takes Abby to the bedroom to tell her privately that he has reconsidered and intends to ask Spellman for the day off to return to Deep Springs. Eddie and Judy drive to the company’s latest construction site where Eddie seeks out Spellman. After a perfunctory apology for summoning Eddie back from his vacation, Spellman points out that Eddie has wasted money and time by coming to the site and not going directly to the office. Daunted, Eddie nevertheless pursues Spellman and explains about Duncan and the rabbit trap. Spellman dismisses Eddie’s concern, suggesting that he simply purchase a rabbit for Duncan. After Spellman praises Eddie’s reliability, Eddie then asks if he can be considered more than simply “dependable” and reminds Spellman that he quit taking night classes to get an engineering degree on his Spellman’s advice. After Spellman cuts Eddie off again, the draftsman finally departs in resignation. Meanwhile, Abby offers to take Duncan to a movie but he insists upon his usual habit of swimming at the YMCA. Unknown to Abby, Duncan has broken his piggybank and, instead of going to the pool, purchases a ticket on a Sacramento bound bus, intending to return to Deep Springs. That afternoon, Spellman returns to the office with the announcement of a new contract and assigns Eddie to be the head project engineer, awarding him a ten dollar a week raise. Stunned and delighted, Eddie accepts Spellman’s bottle of champagne, sharing it with his co-workers. After hugging Eddie, Judy impulsively kisses Spellman who, in the outer office, advises her against such demonstrations, prompting Judy to give a week’s notice. After a woman on the bus grows suspicious of Duncan traveling alone, she advises the driver who, stopping at a gas station, convinces a trucker going to Los Angeles to take Duncan along. Duncan returns home as Eddie arrives and is being congratulated by Judy’s family on his raise. Realizing that Duncan’s swimsuit and hair are dry, Abby asks where he has been all day and Duncan confesses his attempt to return to the country. Deeply distressed, Eddie confides in Abby that he confronted Spellman about taking the day off, only to back down. Ashamed and angry at his reputation as “ever ready steady Eddie,” he declares he is returning to Deep Springs with Duncan. Alarmed that her husband is imperiling his new position, Abby admits she was wrong earlier and loves and respects Eddie for his goodness and ethics. The next morning upon arriving at the office, Judy asks Eddie’s advice, indirectly admitting to having a romantic relationship with Spellman. Although sympathetic, Eddie tells Judy she must make up her own mind, then goes to see Spellman and announces that he is taking the day off. When Spellman’s refusal has no effect, he tells Eddie he will lose his job if he leaves. Eddie explains that the situation with the trap has become about his family’s and his own expectations of who he is and an attempt to provide his son with principles. While Spellman insists children get over broken promises, one of the workers, Jerry, walks in with a cage holding a large rabbit. Declaring it a gift for Duncan, Spellman hopes to appease Eddie, who grows outraged when he reads his own name on the rabbit’s collar. Insisting that he must stand by his decision, Eddie departs and, telephoning Abby, says he is leaving with Spellman’s approval. In Deep Springs that afternoon, Abby tells Eddie she knows that he was fired for his action and he admits he wanted her to have a pleasant vacation. The family then arrives at the clearing and finds the rabbit trap empty. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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