Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 253: Family Plot (1976) - Rank 4/5


I'd heard a fair amount of mediocre reviews regarding Hitchcock's last film prior to watching it. Perhaps lowering my expectations is why I enjoyed the silly caper. The story doesn't have the evocative power of "Vertigo" or "Rebecca," nor does it possess the edge-of-your-seat suspense of "Rear Window" or "Psycho." No, if I had to liken it to some of the director's other works, I'd say that it's definitely commensurate with "The Trouble With Harry" and possibly the zanier aspects of "North By Northwest."

The story is centered around the hijinks of a fraudulent psychic, Blanche (Barbara Harris) and her boyfriend (Bruce Dern) as they accept a commission from one of Blanche's regular clients - a wealthy, old widower. The assignment is to locate the widow's long-lost son so she can will her fortune to him. The problem? The heir (William Devane) doesn't want to be found, because his past is marred with murder and kidnapping. Needless to say, Blanche and her man stumble into a mess of trouble typical of most Hitchcock protagonists.

Despite some dark undertones, the film is, on the whole, light fare. Harris and Dern have entertaining chemistry on screen. William Devane channels Paul Lynde channeling William Devane as only Devane can. Karen Black does her multiple roles schtick that put her on the map in "Trilogy of Terror." How she can dupe others with her false identity with those eyes is a mystery to me and a mystery worthy of Hitchcock. Perhaps that could be his next proj...oh............ooooooh.
Watch the Trailer

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