Family Plot (1976)
We’ve got two plot lines goin’ on: 1) A phony psychic/spiritualist lady, Madame Blanche Tyler (Barbara Harris), and her boyfriend George Lumley (Bruce Dern) are our main duo. After a séance with an elderly millionaire, she offers Madame Blanche $10,000 to find a certain Edward Shoebridge, her long-lost nephew.
2) Eddie Shoebridge! Or rather, Arthur Adamson (William Devane) and his girlfriend Fran (Karen Black). They’re the kidnappin’, jewel-collecting, wanted couple. It starts getting interesting when the two paths begin to intersect through George’s investigation of the mysterious (and seemingly dead) Shoebridge.
From an historical standpoint, this movie is very interesting. Hitchcock has created something with a much more modern edge when comparing it with his earlier classics – I’d go so far as to say that it doesn’t age as well. The expletives give it a real 70’s feel though they still seem rather risque for Hitch and dare I say out of place.
There’s gotta be a word for this movie, and the word that comes to mind is… kooky. Kooky characters, kooky grave yards, kooky plot, kooky psychics, kooky car chases… it’s just kooky! But that isn’t a bad thing, it still has many Hitchcockian qualities that raise it a level above mediocre. There are some well crafted scenes, my favorite being the garage scene at the end though man, did you get a hold of that car chase? It’s a lighthearted mystery much like his The Trouble With Harry. If you’re a die hard Hitchcock fan, you should definitely see this. I may even like it better than something like Foreign Correspondent and it’s definitely better than Topaz. If you like plain ol’ 70’s movies, you might enjoy it as well. If you don’t fall into either of these categories… I recommend this with reserves.
But really, it’s a riot. A fine and satisfactory end to a magnificent career. 6/10