So this week brings the challenge to a close with the final film Hitchcock would direct. Family Plot, it is sad to finish the challenge as I feel I have learnt a lot not just about Hitchcock but film in general as I have seen aspects of the films which worked well that I will most likely use as inspiration in my future career as a filmmaker. But that is for another day; next week I’ll be posting a challenge review of the Hitchcock year and will discuss the great directors career in detail; but for today its all about Family Plot.

WHAT HAPPENED?

A ‘psychic’ (Barbara Harris) is hired by a rich old woman to search for her nephew and is offered a huge reward. She thus brings her boyfriend/taxi driver (Bruce Dern) in on the deal and they begin an investigation. Before long they find that all is not what it seems with perilous danger awaiting them.

THE GOOD

The film much like Frenzy a few weeks ago is on the border between being a drama and a comedy. It is not as dark in tone as Frenzy making this film a more light-hearted experience with dark(ish) undertones. There are several moments of great comedy in the film but also several moments of great tension and the two counteract perfectly throughout.

Gun

A good example of this comes in a scene in which are protagonists find that the brakes on their car have been cut and are therefore surely on the verge of crashing. In this sequence certain shots such as the ones of the front of the car build up tension and danger; highlighting how close to the edge of the road the car is getting. Whilst the other shots – those inside the car – are comedic with Harris throwing her body over Dern in over the top ‘womanly’ fear. This sort of contrast is frequent and makes the film a joy to watch.

car 2

Car 1

 

The film also has a second storyline following the person whom our couple are searching (I don’t want to give away too many spoilers) and this storyline sort of mimics the first and adds for great tension and contrast.

THE BAD
The film is quite drawn out in the middle when there is a section in which very little happens. There are also many areas in which I felt the narrative could have explored to a deeper level in order to build great tension with some of the plot points being far too convenient

The film also lacks a defining moment; something of which an audience member will remember and talk to with their friends as they do about the shower scene in psycho. It is all a little tame; entertaining but not overly original; it is a good film for Hitchcock to bow out on but still far from the great heights he reached at one stage.

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitch makes a cameo in silhouette about 40 minutes into the film.

Cameo

FINAL THOUGHTS

Family Plot is a fitting film for Hitchcock to end his career on as it is a good film that’s worthy of admiration. Hitchcock shows in this film how to contrast comedy and tension to create something extremely entertaining albeit convenient.

Next week as I said there will be some kind of year review and then I will select a new challenge to undertake – I have a few ideas but am as of yet undecided.

Family Plot gets 4 Hitchs.

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