A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
The trickster Madam Blanche Tyler lures the elder millionaire Julia Rainbird that believes she is a spiritualist. After a séance, she discovers that Julia is tormented by her past, when she forced her sister and single mother Harriet to deliver her baby for adoption to avoid a family scandal. Julia promises the small fortune of ten thousand-dollar to Blanche if she finds her nephew and heir of her fortune using her phony powers. Blanche asks her boyfriend George Lumley, who is an unemployed actor working as cab driver, to investigate the whereabouts of Julia's nephew. Meanwhile, the greedy jeweler and collector Arthur Adamson kidnaps wealthy people with his girlfriend Fran to increase his collection of diamonds with the ransom. When George concludes that Arthur Adamson might be the heir of Julia Rainbird, the reckless Blanche gets in trouble with the kidnappers. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As a publicity stunt to promote this movie, Alfred Hitchcock held a press conference junket in a mocked-up fake cemetery. Journalists had their names embossed on mock gravestones and the whole event was a reference to this movie's Family Plot (1976) cemeterial title. See more »
During the scene where Maloney and Adamson are in the back room of the jewelry store, Maloney takes all but two cigarettes from the cigarette bowl. However, minutes later, the bowl is full again. See more »
Man leading funeral:
[At funeral, quoting Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:20-27]
O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand ...
See more »
The Universal logo does not appear anywhere on this film. See more »
Alfred Hitchcock's final film Family Plot is a story of two male and female criminal partnerships. The first pair is Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris who are a pair of small time grifters and we meet them in the process of fleecing a rich old spinster Cathleen Nesbitt with a phony psychic act.
The second pair are William Devane and Karen Black who have a lovely line in ransom kidnappings. They've really got it worked out to a science, including a soundproof hidden room in Devane's basement where the victims can be stashed until the ransom is paid.
Nesbitt confesses that she had her late sister give up an out of wedlock child during a séance and now she'd like to make amends by finding him and making him her heir. So with a finder's fee in mind Dern and Harris start digging.
Their paths cross Devane and Black as the police are hunting them so it becomes quite an interesting set of circumstances as Devane and Black suspect the others of being police operatives.
Hitchcock cleverly interweaves the stories of the two couples into a very cohesive plot. The players all hit the mark with their roles,] especially Devane, a smooth talking killer in the Hitchcock tradition of Otto Kruger in Saboteur, Tom Helmore in Vertigo, and James Mason in North By Northwest.
The ending is a bit of a surprise though, it comes rather abruptly. I have to confess I didn't like it at first, but it does kind of grow on you with repeated viewings.
Family Plot is a good for the master of suspense to go out on.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?