Family Plot

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris.
US, 1976, 35mm, color, 120 min.

Although his career was revived a bit by the excellence of the brutal Frenzy, Hitchcock remained chastened by the failures of his work of the late 1960s, and he approached warily the making of what would become his last project. In the end, Family Plot marks a marvelous return to the comedies of his British and postwar periods. The film centers on a couple of petty crooks – a fake psychic and a con man – who find themselves in over their heads when they run afoul of more serious-minded criminals. The relaxed eccentricity of Family Plot shows Hitchcock adapting to the New Hollywood of the 1970s, and the film’s bemused attitude towards the scheming of its characters makes it a fitting coda to a career spent examining human foibles.

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