Sunday, January 9, 2011

My favorite Hitchcocks – Family Plot (1976)

Family Plot is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies alongside Rear Window (1954) and The Birds (1963). It is the last and the 56th movie of the director. It includes all the Hitchcockian themes in it as well as different cinematographic touches.
Hitchcock movies are famous for their suspense, murder, thriller and humor themes; mystical characters, wrongful accusations; chic women, handsome and rich guys.... Even though there are mystical characters and storyline, it is generally obvious who is the bad or the good character in the story from its beginning. Stories are generally simple and the scripts are really well thought out and wittily written. Criminals are generally rich and clever. Innocents are accused and they try to prove their innocence. Suspense keeps its rhythm throughout the movie and some secrets are given to the audience by showing something that the character didn’t see. Hitchcock movies always keep their excitement and never bore you (at least me :)).
The different approach in Family Plot is the major surprise of the good/bad character predictions at the beginning of the movie. Strangely, it draws two unrelated couple stories by switching from one couple to the other at the beginning. You know that these two stories are going to merge somehow, but you can’t guess how. The surprise is that it makes an opening with the bad couple (that’s what you think) and it starts to tell a totally unrelated story of the other couple who also seems to be doing bad things. That little twist in the story makes it unguessable who is going to do bad things to the other and you don’t know which couple represents the bad side of the story.
One of the scenes that I like most in Hitchcock movies is the car scenes (in almost all his movies, you might see one). The shots from the front window f the cars are so common. At that time of cinema techniques, the car scenes were shot in the studios. After shooting the background scene, the characters were pretending to drive a car in the studio and turning the steering wheel accordingly. In Family Plot, there is one car scene which I really like and a long one. It’s pretty good synchronized with its background; you enjoy very much of the cinema techniques of the time (very funny sometimes and obviously spent some time to shoot) and it's one of the masterful Hitchcock scenes!
editor’s note: If you’ve never seen a Hitchcock movie before, I highly suggest you to start with "Rear Window" or "Vertigo" or "North by Northwest" or "Psycho" to get a quick idea of his movie style ;) And if you like it, go for "Marnie", "Torn Curtain", "The Birds", "Frenzy", "Family Plot"...

"I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."
-Alfred Hitchcock

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