Watch Now: FAMILY PLOT
Alfred Hitchcock’s ultimate film, the comedy thriller called Family Plot stands out in the master’s rich filmography for several distinct reasons, most prominent of which probably lies in the very heart of its creative genesis. The screenwriter Ernest Lehman, who adapted it from Victor Canning’s novel The Rainbird Pattern, tried to write a dark, somber story, but the process was influenced by the filmmaker, as Hitchcock opted for a more cheerful, light-hearted approach. “Murder can be fun,” he told John Williams, who was hired to compose the score. This mixture of tonal light and darkness works perfectly, but don’t let this intro fool you: it’s still, as Roger Ebert put it, “pure Hitchcock, with its meticulous construction and attention to detail.”
Neatly written, confidently shot and led by great performances from Barbara Harris, Bruce Dern, Karen Black and William Devane and Williams’ superb score, Family Plot was a solid box office hit and turned out to be the last jewel of Hitchcock’s career. This thoroughly amusing thriller warrants your attention as it serves as definitive proof of the filmmaker’s sharpness even deep in his seventies. No one makes films like Hitchcock and it’s especially inspiring to see him end his esteemed career on such a high note.