Review: ‘Family Plot’

Family Plot is a dazzling achievement for Alfred Hitchcock masterfully controlling shifts from comedy to drama thoughout a highly complex plot. Witty screenplay, transplanting Victor Canning's British novel, The Rainbird Pattern, to a California setting, is a model of construction, and the cast is uniformly superb.

Family Plot is a dazzling achievement for Alfred Hitchcock masterfully controlling shifts from comedy to drama thoughout a highly complex plot. Witty screenplay, transplanting Victor Canning’s British novel, The Rainbird Pattern, to a California setting, is a model of construction, and the cast is uniformly superb.

Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris are the couple who receive primary attention, a cabbie and a phony psychic trying to find the long-lost heir to the Rainbird fortune.

Dern is a more than slightly absurd figure, oddly appealing; Harris is sensational.

William Devane takes a high place in the roster of Hitchcockian rogues, while Karen Black, gives a deep resonance to her relationship with the mercurial Devane.

Family Plot

Production

Universal. Director Alfred Hitchcock; Producer [uncredited]; Screenplay Ernest Lehman; Camera Leonard J. South; Editor J. Terry Williams; Music John Williams; Art Director Henry Bumstead

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Karen Black Bruce Dern Barbara Harris William Devane Ed Lauter Cathleen Nesbitt
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