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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)
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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:

There's no body in the family plot. 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:

Deceit 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

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

This is the only Sir Alfred Hitchcock movie with a score composed by John Williams. See more »

Goofs

During the runaway car scene George is almost strangled by Blanche as she hangs on to his tie while flailing around in the back of the car. George's tie is clearly loose around his neck in several shots. When he crashes and climbs out of the car the tie knot is perfect. See more »

Quotes

Constantine: When a guy like me gets kidnapped by a woman, he wants her to be twenty-five.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Dallas: Family Plot (1990) 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

 
quite enjoyable and comical
22 April 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This last Hitchcock film may seem out of step with all of the others, but then it has to be. The sexual/cultural revolution is over. The cynical 70s are in full swing. You can't just insinuate "the act" anymore and cut to the seashore.

Into this environment comes "Family Plot". It is basically two sets of crimes, one minor and one major, hitting an intersection with one group of criminals having no idea what the other group is up to.

Blanche Tyler (Barbara Harris) is a fake psychic. She has her cabbie boyfriend get information for her based on the hints she gets from the séances. In this case a wealthy woman, Julia Rainbird, claims her sister's spirit and her own conscience torment her because in 1933 she made her sister put her illegitimate child up for adoption because of the scandal that would have occurred given the conventions of the times. Nobody knows what happened to him since the adoption was closed. Now Julia Rainbird, in her old age, wants to accept her nephew into the family and leave the entire estate to him. There is 10K in it for Blanche if she can find him.

What Blanche and cabbie lover George (Bruce Dern) don't know is that the long lost heir is basically Lex Luther with hair - William Devane as Arthur Adamson, a true sociopath who loves thumbing his nose at conventions and loves crime. Together he and his girlfriend, Fran (Karen Black) kidnap wealthy people in exchange for jewels. Adamson has a legitimate business as a jeweler as a front.

The misunderstandings come in when Adamson discovers that somebody is digging into his past, specifically his faked death which was a cover for the murder of his adoptive parents back in 1950. Blanche and George can't figure out why they would be getting attempts on their life. Adamson has no idea of his true identity and has no idea why these two amateurs are trying to find him, figuring it has either to do with his current kidnappings or the past murder of his parents.

It all comes together in a suspenseful and comical way. I'll let you watch and find out how.

Blanche and George are a hilarious couple just perfect for 1975. In one scene, at the end of the day, she is basically ordering him to come inside the house and sexually service her. George replies she is wearing him out and he has to work tomorrow. She asks "what are you saving it for?". This is a long way from the stolen glances, passionate kisses, and hand holding in "Dial M For Murder", but this is a different time and they are just right for it.

Even at the end Hitchcock did know how to change with the times. I'd recommend it.


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