Family Plot

Family Plot

classified PG

The Early Scores of John Williams


Please note: This was screened in April 2019

Alfred Hitchcock
Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris
115 mins, 1976, USA
Primary language

John Williams’ landmark score for this diabolically funny suspense-comedy holds an important place in film score history, arriving just after he’d completed his iconic score for Jaws that would turn him into a household name, it’s also the soundtrack to the last film ever made by the great Alfred Hitchcock.

In Hitchcock’s swan song Blanche (Barbara Harris), is a less than reputable psychic. Alongside her equally shady boyfriend, George (Bruce Dern), they are hired by an elderly lady to find her nephew Arthur (William Devane), who had been given up for adoption as a boy. With little information to go on, the pair track down the now-grown up Arthur in San Francisco. But Arthur has a colourful past, including murder and thievery with a girlfriend, Fran (Karen Black). So when he discovers he is being trailed, he assumes it's for other reasons…

Within Williams’ score for Family Plot, you can hear the beginnings of the style that would evolve to become the cornerstones of his great scores such as E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Star Wars. And as this snippet from a documentary made about the score shows, Williams’ learnt a huge amount from his time working with Hitchcock about the power that music can wield when implemented intelligently.