GUEST POST- Hitch on the Hump: Christine Digs Into Family Plot
Hey folks, and welcome to a special Hitch on the Hump. You folks know how much I love Hitchcock, but I wanted to give some other folks a chance to share their love for The Master of Suspense. First up is Christine Makepeace of Paracinema Magazine (And Blog). Besides being a publishing and writing badass, Christine also shares my love for Hitchcock all the way to the bitter end. Speaking of the bitter end, she chose to take a look at Hitch's last film, 1976's Family Plot. (My full review can be found HERE.) I'm going to turn it over to her now, but before I do, if you want to be a Guest on the Hump, contact me at thelightningbug@charter(dot)net and we'll get you on the books!
Our amateur sleuths, Blanche (Barbara Harris) and George (Bruce Dern), spend most of the film completely ignorant to the fact that the man they seek, Arthur (William Devane), is a villainous snake. Along with his partner, Fran (Karen Black), he has been holding rich and powerful men for ransom. When Blanche and George come knocking, the 2 baddies naturally assume they have been found out. How were they to know Blanche just wants to give Arthur a few million dollars that he had no idea he was entitled to?
While Plot may fall short as a Hitchcock film, it is still a very watchable, enjoyable slice of 70’s cinema. The previously mentioned whodunitness makes the film infinitely compelling. On the flipside, the tone and humor didn’t work for me. Unlike The Trouble With Harry, the black comedy clashed with the story and caused many suspenseful moments to lose their impact. In a scene where Dern and Harris are flying down a hill in a sabotaged car, their slapsticky delivery makes all consequences seem moot. The Master of Suspense failing to build, well, suspense? Crazy, I know.
As an aside, I did a lot of reading about Family Plot and I found some super neat casting gossip. Al Pacino was being considered for Bruce Dern’s role. Oh, and Jack Nicholson. Liza Minnelli was originally cast as Blanche. And Faye Dunaway was offered the role that went to Karen Black. This one is my favorite: Roy Scheider and Burt Reynolds were both in the running for the role that was ultimately won by William Devane. Pacino, Dunaway and Burt in a Hitchcock film? Part of me would have loved to see that!
Me too Christine! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on The Master of Suspense's final film. I have to admit that I discounted it when I watched it originally, and now you've got me wanting to go back and watch it again. Next week I'll be back with a regular Hitch on the Hump, but then we'll have another guest post, this time from Matt Suzaka of Chuck Norris Ate My Baby!