More Than Meets The Mogwai

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shots taken from FAMILY PLOT (Alfred Hitchcock, 1976)


Blogger Dennis Cozzalio said...

I love Barbara Harris.

My wife tells a story of Hitchcock filming a scene from this movie three houses down from her childhood home when she was a kid. She went over to watch and apparently got too close to Hitchcock, who was standing on the "set," and was reprimanded by a security guy, who apparently thought that this none-too-intimidating 10-year-old Japanese girl posed too imposing a threat for the Master of Suspense.

Also, Family Plot is the movie that really drove home the possibilities of found humor in overdubbing swear words for network standards for me. I'd seen the movie a couple of times in the theater and dutifully anticipated its showing on NBC some two or three years later. There's a scene with Bruce Dern and Harris in which Dern is driving a limo (he's wearing the cap in one of your screen grabs) and she's causing him some discomfort, perhaps interfering with his driving, I don't remember. Anyway, he says, in the theatrical cut, "For Christ's sakes, Blanche, watch what you're doing!" I'll never forget how NBC protected the impressionable among us by turning that line into: "For rice cakes, Blanche..."

MGM, how do you do your screen grabs?

12:55 PM  
Blogger aaron w graham said...


Barbara Harris absolutely floored me with this viewing, as well. There's that scene at a diner where she and Bruce Dern are waiting for Ed Lauter, and it’s mostly shot subjectively from their POV. A priest walks in with a gaggle of young children, waits for a woman to enter, then moves to her table. I turn to my girlfriend, give her a little nudge at the implication of this man of the cloth giving in to the "sins of the flesh", but she thinks I’m ridiculous. Hitchcock then cuts to Dern and Harris having the exact same reaction to this tableau that we’ve just went through -- no wonder he’s the Master, he played me like a Stradivarius!

Thanks for relating the story regarding your wife. I love hearing little anecodotes such as these; I'm sure it'll pop up in my mind whenever I rewatch FP.

As for screen captures, there’s an option on the built-in DVD player on my DVD-ROM that allows for screen captures. I then have to convert them to JPEGs in order to post. If you’re ever in need (like for the upcoming Angie Dickinson blogathon – I have copies of Rio Bravo, Point Blank, and Big Bad Mama), just let me now.


7:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Sutpen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Sutpen said...

Nicely chosen caps.

But just think . . . you might well have put more thought into choosing those images than Hitchcock did in composing them (the man was not in good overall shape when he made that film . . . which is nonetheless my favorite latter-day Hitchcock).

8:34 PM  
Blogger Dennis Cozzalio said...

I may take you up on that re: the Angie Blog-a-Thon-- it might be a unique test to see if I could rein in my prurient tendencies, especially as concerns Big Bad Mama!

12:18 PM  
Blogger aaron w graham said...


You very well may be right re: Hitchcock and his visual acuity at the time of 'Family Plot'. My favorite thing written about the film is in Bill Krohn's "Hitchcock at Work", particularly the line: "it could be said that the film works against its storyboards".


It'll be my pleasure to provide some screen caps when it gets closer to the Angie blogathon.

I realized I also have 'Death Hunt' here, but i'm sure you don't want your stills of Angie when she's wrapped in layers of fleece!

6:42 PM  
Blogger AH Films said...

Hitchcock was not in perfect health while making Family Plot, but I still think he was at the top of his game. The attention to detail in some of the scenes is remarkable, yet Family Plot often gets mixed reviews. I just started a blog that ranks Hitcock's greatest films, based on user comments. It will be interesting to see how Family Plot does alongside Hitchcock's better known films such as Vertigo, Psycho, and North by Northwest.

10:35 PM  
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6:23 PM  

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