FAMILY PLOT (1976): VHS (Alfred Hitchcock)
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FAMILY PLOT was Alfred Hitchcock's 54th and final film; he died on April 29, 1980. The film was Hitchcock's second biggest box office success. Once again the master has made a film that involves one of his favorite themes--doubling--with one character providing a dark counterpoint to the hero, acting out all his or her repressed, negative desires, as in SHADOW OF A DOUBT and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. In this film, the two couples, one criminal but amiable and the other criminal but violent, provide a stark contrast with one another. The parallel couples also provide emotional counterbalance to one another as Hitchcock weaves alternating threads of humor and cruelty to create this layered story. When a rich, guilt-ridden dowager visits a psychic (Barbara Harris) for help in finding her family's long-abandoned heir, she sets off more than a search for a missing person. Unbeknownst to the lady, the psychic is a phony, and the lure of dollars sends her, along with her cabdriver husband (Bruce Dern), in hot pursuit of the lost beneficiary. Their bumbling search, however, threatens to interfere with established criminal interests, and, unknowingly, the couple's doggedness leads them into harm's way. The film was based on THE RAINBIRD PATTERN, a novel by Victor Canning.