"Without my research, you're about as psychic as a dry salami."
- George Lumley (Bruce Dern) to Blanche (Barbara Harris)
"I told you about danger, didn't I' First it makes you sick, but then when you get through it, it makes you very, very loving."
- Arthur Adamson (William Devane) to Fran (Karen Black)
"Isn't it touching how a perfect murder has kept our friendship alive all these years'"
- Adamson to Joe Maloney (Ed Lauter)
Description by OLDIES.com:
A wealthy old woman hires a con man (Bruce Dern) and a phony psychic (Barbara Harris) to find her long-lost nephew. The results are diabolically funny as this suspense-comedy combines mystery and mayhem in nonstop excitement from beginning to end. Co-starring Karen Black and William Devane.
FAMILY PLOT was Alfred Hitchcock's 54th and final film; he died on April 29, 1980. The film was Hitchcock's second biggest box office success. Once again the master has made a film that involves one of his favorite themes--doubling--with one character providing a dark counterpoint to the hero, acting out all his or her repressed, negative desires, as in SHADOW OF A DOUBT and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. In this film, the two couples, one criminal but amiable and the other criminal but violent, provide a stark contrast with one another. The parallel couples also provide emotional counterbalance to one another as Hitchcock weaves alternating threads of humor and cruelty to create this layered story. When a rich, guilt-ridden dowager visits a psychic (Barbara Harris) for help in finding her family's long-abandoned heir, she sets off more than a search for a missing person. Unbeknownst to the lady, the psychic is a phony, and the lure of dollars sends her, along with her cabdriver husband (Bruce Dern), in hot pursuit of the lost beneficiary. Their bumbling search, however, threatens to interfere with established criminal interests, and, unknowingly, the couple's doggedness leads them into harm's way. The film was based on THE RAINBIRD PATTERN, a novel by Victor Canning.
Black Comedy |
Family Interaction |
Theatrical Release |
Hitchcock cameo: Hitchcock's sillhouette can be seen through the door of the office for the Registrar of Births and Deaths.
Ernest Lehmann, who wrote the script, also collaborated with Hitchcock on NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
Nicholas Colasanto, who played Constantine, went on to play the role of Coach on the hit sitcom CHEERS.
Hitchcock had a heart attack during filming; production was temporarily halted while he had a pacemaker installed.