A French Intelligence Agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
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
Titled "The 53rd movie" in the year of pre-production. See more »
When Blanche & George finally crash coming down the mountain, the car ends up on its side. Coming down the mountain at high speeds, there were several instances when George hit the guardrail hard enough to damage the metal or at least scrape the paint off the side of the car. Yet as we clearly see when the car comes to rest, there is no damage to the car whatsoever. See more »
Isn't it touching how a perfect murder has kept our friendship alive all these years.
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The Universal logo does not appear anywhere on this film. See more »
Don't bother defending this film. Revise: Now I Admire It!
I regret to say that while it has a fair amount of merits, I find "Family Plot" to be one of Hitchcock's worst films. Had he used the exact same script and made a dark thriller with an able cast, it would have worked much better. Instead, it's played for laughs, and it's just not funny. I have serious issues with the four principal actors and their ability to convincingly portray their characters. Barbara Harris' "kooky" persona is as dated as that bouffant, bubble hairdo that looks like a wig. She was completely out of step even in 1976. Bruce Dern is annoying in his forced attempt at a comic performance. Karen Black's acting is tentative and uncertain (she was too awestruck at being in a Hitchcock film). William Devane's grinning mouthful of capped teeth is similarly a turnoff. It's the same sort of miscasting that ultimately doomed Gus Van Sant's unfortunate "Psycho" remake. The John Williams score, with its tinkling harpsichord (more befitting a Disney children's adventure) is excruciatingly trite. Hitchcock's misjudgments at that late stage of his career, when he probably shouldn't have been making movies anymore, can be forgiven in light of the remarkable legacy of masterpieces he left behind.
Update: I have grown to admire this film more with each repeated viewing. I still feel the casting is weak, the music is trite, and the overall tone to be too lightweight. However, Ernest Lehman's script, with its two intersecting story lines, is well-developed and full of clever dialog. Supporting players are excellent, particularly Cathleen Nesbitt as Julia Rainbird and Ed Lauter as Joe Maloney. Hitchcock had not lost his touch. This is definitely not among his worst films.
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