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Family Plot (1976)

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A phony psychic/con artist and her taxi driver/private investigator boyfriend encounter a pair of serial kidnappers while trailing a missing heir in California.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Ernest Lehman (screenplay), Victor Canning (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Fran
Bruce Dern ... George Lumley
Barbara Harris ... Blanche Tyler
William Devane ... Arthur Adamson
Ed Lauter ... Joseph Maloney
Cathleen Nesbitt ... Julia Rainbird
Katherine Helmond ... Mrs. Maloney
Warren J. Kemmerling ... Grandison
Edith Atwater ... Mrs. Clay
William Prince ... Bishop Wood
Nicholas Colasanto ... Constantine
Marge Redmond ... Vera Hannagan
John Lehne John Lehne ... Andy Bush
Charles Tyner ... Wheeler
Alexander Lockwood Alexander Lockwood ... Parson
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the devious mind of Alfred Hitchcock, a diabolically entertaining motion picture. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's 53rd Film See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,490,375 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,200,000, 31 December 1976
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock was seriously in ill-health during the production of this movie. This led to this picture being his final ever film. It was not intended to be his final picture as afterwards he worked on developing 'The Short Night' for the screen. See more »

Goofs

The two shots of the bullet hole in the helicopter's Plexiglas canopy are not the same. The first one is perfectly round, the second is not and the cracks radiating from it are different. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Adamson: Isn't it touching how a perfect murder has kept our friendship alive all these years.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Universal logo does not appear anywhere on this film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Rejoice, the Lord Is King
(1744) (uncredited)
Music by John Darwall
Lyrics by Charles Wesley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Tale Of Two Con Games
8 January 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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.


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