Famliy Plot

Family Plot is a 1976 dark comedy/thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, his final film. It stars Barbara Harris, Bruce Dern, William Devane and Karen Black. The film was screened at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn’t entered into the main competition. There were two working titles: Deceit and Missing Heir.


Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchcock] in silhouette 45 minutes into the film behind the door at the registrar of births and deaths.

A street sign in the film reads “Bates Ave”. The Bates Motel was the setting for Hitchcock’s earlier film Psycho (1960).

Roy Thinnes was originally hired to play Arthur Adamson, but Hitchcock’s first choice William Devane became available so Hitchcock fired Thinnes without a reason and hired Devane. Some key scenes had been shot prior to this. Everything that had been shot was re-shot except for long shots which to this day remain as Roy Thinnes and not William Devane.

Director Trademark: [Alfred Hitchcock] [bathroom] features a modern chemical toilet.

Alfred Hitchcock was famous for making his actors follow the script to the word, but in this movie he let the characters improvise and use their own dialogue.

Alfred Hitchcock’s final film.

Alfred Hitchcock initially wanted Al Pacino for the role of Lumley. According to an interview on the DVD with Bruce Dern, who ultimately got the part, Pacino’s asking price was too high because of the recent successes he had enjoyed (Serpico (1973), The Godfather (1972), etc.)

The final shot in the movie, a wink by the Barbara Harris character was a jokey reference that was not planned but Alfred Hitchcock decided to leave in.

Lillian Gish wanted to test for the role of Julia Rainbird but the role had been promised to Cathleen Nesbitt.

Jack Nicholson couldn’t accept the role of George Lumley, as he was doing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).

Liza Minnelli was originally cast to play the role that later went to Barbara Harris.

Karen Black initially wanted the role of Blanche.

Faye Dunaway was offered the role of Fran.

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