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Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot

Unlike most of Alfred Hitchcock's (1976) films where the director prefers to tell a story more in visual images than dialogue, there is a great deal of talk in his last film Family Plot, especially in the opening sequences. One of Hitchcock's most common themes is that of the innocent individual who wrongly finds himself in a terrible situation. In Family Plot, there are two near-innocent individuals caught in a situation that is over their heads and more terrible than they imagine. Madame Blanch and her boyfriend George are small-time grifters who use Blanch's pseudo-psychic business to milk customers out of their money. Blanch finds one old woman, Julia Rainbird, who wants to locate her now-adult lost nephew so he can inherit her fortune before she dies. In return, Blanch and George can collect a $10,000 reward.

Instead of pretending to find an heir, Blanch actually intends to find him with George doing the detective work. On their way home, in near-delirium over their new found good fortune, Hitchcock' provides one of his uses of construction when the pair nearly run down a woman who passes in front of their cab. She will turn out to be Fran, the wife of the missing heir George and Blanch seek, Arthur Adamson. Much more dangerous and experienced criminals, Fran and Arthur kidnap people and in return receive large diamonds they keep hidden. Ironically, neither wants to be found. Hitchcock keeps the two couples in contact with each other by a series of coincidences. Several murder attempts are made on the unwitting Blanch and George by Arthur to no avail. The ultimate caper for Arthur and Fran is to kidnap the Bishop, which is done. The surprise ending includes a bigger reward for Blanch and George than they imagined.

The acting in Family Plot is part of what gives the macabre comedy its appeal. William Devane is great as the sinister and oily villain who is pleasant and smooth yet ready t...

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Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:52, May 31, 2020, from