Plot Points — Family Plot (1976) Still 2022
Plot points are linear links that make up the chain of traditional Aristotelian 3-act dramatic structure. This classic structure worked well in Hollywood for almost a century now. Although young movie makers are forcing the limits of this structure, plot points still rule the day as the “tent poles” that hold up of the circus of our dreams. Here are the plot points of Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976), as I see them.
Family Plot (1976)
Starring: Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane, Karen Black, Ed Lauter
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenwriter)
ESTABLISHING SHOT: A spooky crystal ball with lava-lamp liquid swimming in it. A private spirit séance in a wealthy house for a wealthy old lady by a fake medium Blanche Tyler (Barbara Harris).
INCITING INCIDENT 1: Blanch and her taxi cab driver boyfriend George Lumley (Bruce Dern) agree to continue their charade and milk the wealthy and guilt-ridden widow to the tune of $10K by finding the son of her deceased sister.
INCITING INCIDENT 2: Fran (Karen Black) delivers a kidnapped industrialist in return for a valuable diamond.
PLOT POINT 1: Cabdriver George, pretending he is a lawyer, finds the gas station operator Maloney who helped kill Arthur Adamson (William Devane)’s adoptive parents and cover up his faked death in order to erase any information that Arthur is indeed the boy given up for adoption years ago. George makes it clear that he is looking for the boy whom could inherit a fortune from his aunt.
MID POINT EVENT: Maloney tries to kill both George and Blanche by messing up their brakes. The scary ride down a mountain ends up killing Maloney instead.
PLOT POINT 2: Blanche is caught and taken prisoner by Arthur and Fran.
3rd ACT RESOLUTION: George and Blanche succeed in trapping both Arthur and Fran in their own dungeon cell that they have used for their kidnapping victims in the past.
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