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Family Plot
(1976)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Conducted by:

Orchestrated by:
Herbert W. Spencer
Al Woodbury

Album Produced by:
Robert Townson
Mike Matessino
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Varèse Sarabande
(December 6th, 2010)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Long available only as a bootleg, the sole legitimate release of this score is the 2010 Varèse Sarabande album limited to 5,000 copies and sold initially for $20.
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AWARDS
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate John Williams in parody mode, because this score's references to the composer's 1960's humor tend to overwhelm his foreshadowing of dramatic rhythmic techniques heard in Black Sunday and beyond.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear anything better than archival sound quality, an unfortunate downside of even this score's best possible presentation that diminishes the impact of its more resounding material for the story's villains.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,649
WRITTEN 12/27/10
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Williams
Williams
Family Plot: (John Williams) As esteemed director Alfred Hitchcock's health declined in the 1970's, he made one final stab at a black comedy in the airy tale of Family Plot. Only based loosely upon a novel by the writer who also inspired North by Northwest, this 1976 film is not one of the director's best, but it is notable in that he completed it shortly before his health (and his wife's) deteriorated to such an extent that he could not continue with another project. Rather than gripping audiences with suspense, Family Plot is based upon a character-based mystery that relies upon its cat and mouse game play between its shady protagonists and even shadier villains. The former pair is led by a fraudulent psychic who collaborates with her taxi-driving boyfriend to dig up information about her clients to use in her staged seances. When she is hired by an old woman to find her only heir, they stumble upon a group of kidnappers with a love of diamonds (one of whom the heir with a changed identity) and ultimately "out-con" the con artists. Most of the story is told with a breezy demeanor, a wink at the audience in the final scene confirmation that Hitchcock meant for Family Plot to reside alongside his comedies. This brighter attitude is directly reflected in John Williams' score for the picture. While Hitchcock had collaborated with several composers over the course of his long career, his efforts with Bernard Herrmann had always been the most notable. The two men suffered a collapse of their professional relationship when the score for Torn Curtain was rejected, and this circumstance initially made Williams uncomfortable. Known previously for his television work, musical adaptations, and disaster epics, Williams had become the darling of Universal the previous year with Jaws, and after being suggested for the assignment, the composer received the expressed confidence of Hitchcock. Nevertheless, Williams sought the blessing of Herrmann, himself nearing death, before tackling Family Plot. Over the course of many meetings between the men, Hitchcock made it clear that he desired music of a lighter variety for Family Plot ("Murder can be fun," he said), starting with a whimsical choral environment for the seance scenes. While the director showed up for a few recording sessions and made a few specific requests about placement, he left the score largely in the hands of Williams' discretion. The resulting work has some references to the sounds of the composer's 1960's comedies and 1970's disaster epics, though it also resembles his later scores. Still, the music remains one of the most distinctly recognizable efforts in Williams' career.

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VIEWER RATINGS
96 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3 Stars
***** 18 5 Stars
**** 19 4 Stars
*** 22 3 Stars
** 19 2 Stars
* 18 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 63:27
• 1. The First Seance (5:29)
• 2. Blanche's Challenge (2:09)
• 3. The Mystery Woman (3:27)
• 4. The Rescue of Constantine/The Diamond Chandelier (2:21)
• 5. Kitchen Pranks (2:08)
• 6. The Shoebridge Headstone (2:23)
• 7. Maloney's Visit to the Jewelry Store/Maloney's Knife/The Stake Out (4:58)
• 8. The Second Seance (2:20)
• 9. Nothing Held Back (0:37)
• 10. The White Mustang (1:19)
• 11. Blanche and George (1:17)
• 12. Maloney's Exit (2:03)
• 13. Share and Share Alike (0:54)
• 14. The Mondrian Shot/The Revealed Identity (1:47)
• 15. The Search Montage (3:41)
• 16. Blanche's Arrival/Blanche's Note (2:29)
• 17. Blanche Gets the Needle (3:03)
• 18. Breaking Into the House (5:16)
• 19. The Secret Door/Blanche Wakes Up (1:39)
• 20. End Cast (4:14)
• 21. Family Plot Theme (2:38)
• 22. The Stonecutter (6:35)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes a list of performers and extensive notes about the film, score, and album.
Copyright © 2010-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Family Plot are Copyright © 2010, Varèse Sarabande and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/27/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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