It is a cinemagoer’s honor to watch the masterpieces created by legendary directors. Sitting with a couple of friends, a discussion started around Hitchcock and his world-renowned film-making techniques. This is when I realized, being as crazy a movie-lover as I claim to be, it is actually embarrassing to not have seen his work. I had a couple of his movies lying with me for a long while. I finally declared to myself: it’s high time; and decided to pick up one of those movies for after-dinner watch, which brings me to today’s movie review.

Though Family plot makes its mark as this celebrity’s last work, I will always remember Family Plot as my introduction to the world of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. Apparently, it seems to be a wrong choice on my behalf to select this movie to get the beginner’s flavor of Hitchcock’s intense work. Whereas Hitchcock is known for the high-intensity mystery based drama along with use of mood setting and grasping sound and camera work, Family plot while following the basic premise of crime and mystery, borders on humor and contains the elements of comedy to a good enough extent.

Family plot is the plot of two couples whose lives intersect in a suspense based yet fun filled setting. Blanche Tyler (Barbara Harris) is a fraudulent psychic reader, whose livelihood is based on other’s quest for the unknown. While Blanche uses all possible techniques like voice-makeover, possessed over and generic monologues, prompting the clients to reveal their hidden secret and drop some hints, George Lumley (Bruce Dern), a cab driver and his accomplice does all the dirty work of developing the leads. One such case comes their way when an old-rich lady seeks their help for locating her disowned nephew, in order to make him the heir to her property and put her guilt to piece. Eyeing a fortune-hunt and opportunity to make a huge cut, Blanche puts George to put the jigsaw pieces together and find a probable match.

Around the same time, we follow one of the many kidnappings where precious jewels are demanded as ransom. Here, the strings are pulled by a jewellery retailer Adamson (William Dewane) while her pretty girlfriend Fran (Karen Black) plays the careful negotiator in disguise for all such deals.

As George begins his research to spot this to-be wealthy guy and give him the good news, he himself gets tracked and
traced for his inquisitiveness. All his work leads to digging a very dark and horrendous past of Adamson. As Adamson gets the news of the sleuthing activities, he devises his own strategy to get rid of trouble-maker. Finally, Blanche and Adamson come face to face, neither aware of the other’s intentions. Is truth revealed in this strange encounter or it becomes even more bizarre? Does George succeed in saving Blanche from this criminal’s grasp or does he also fall prey to Adamson’s plans?

 

The movie is a crime based thriller with a full serving of comedy. It is difficult for me to write anything about Hitchcock’s work in general based on this movie as it does not exemplify his regular work, but I can still appreciate his commendable way of creating superior-work. Family plot presents a strange but welcome deviation from Hitchcock’s regular modus operandi as well regular grim thrillers. That being said, the movie instills the grounds of a crime thriller very efficiently and keeps you involved throughout. Most charming character would invariably be that of Barbara Harris with all his tantrums and psychic dramas. Notwithstanding critic’s comments on the treatment of this movie, I will not hesitate even for a second to give good ratings to this light-hearted thriller. I enjoyed it thoroughly and so would you.