Other Titles • Family Plot (1976) • Missing Heir • Deceit • Familiengrab (1976)
Synopses for Family Plot (1976)
Alfred Hitchcock's final film Family Plot is understated comic fun that mixes suspense with deft humour, thanks to a solid cast. The plot centres on the kidnapping of an heir and a diamond theft by a pair of bad guys led by Karen Black and William Devane. The cops seem befuddled, but that doesn't stop a questionable psychic (Barbara Harris) and her not overly bright boyfriend (Bruce Dern, in a rare good-guy role) from picking up the trail and actually solving the crime. Did she do it with actual psychic powers? That's part of the fun of Harris's enjoyably ditsy performance. --Marshall Fine
FAMILY PLOT was Alfred Hitchcock's 54th and final film; he died on April 29, 1980. The film was Hitchcock's second biggest box office success. Once again the master has made a film that involves one of his favorite themes--doubling--with one character providing a dark counterpoint to the hero, acting out all his or her repressed, negative desires, as in SHADOW OF A DOUBT and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. In this film, the two couples, one criminal but amiable and the other criminal but violent, provide a stark contrast with one another. The parallel couples also provide emotional counterbalance to one another as Hitchcock weaves alternating threads of humor and cruelty to create this layered story. When a rich, guilt-ridden dowager visits a psychic (Barbara Harris) for help in finding her family's long-abandoned heir, she sets off more than a search for a missing person. Unbeknownst to the lady, the psychic is a phony, and the lure of dollars sends her, along with her cabdriver husband (Bruce Dern), in hot pursuit of the lost beneficiary. Their bumbling search, however, threatens to interfere with established criminal interests, and, unknowingly, the couple's doggedness leads them into harm's way. The film was based on THE RAINBIRD PATTERN, a novel by Victor Canning.
Alfred Hitchcock's lifelong fascination with the phenomenon of coincidence reaches its zenith in his 54th and final motion picture. A cabbie and a psychic team up to find a dead man who's not really dead in exchange for a $10,000 reward. Their lives become entwined with a cruel jewel merchant and his "woman in black."
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