This chapter looks at Alfred Hitchcock's last finished film, Family Plot (1976). Family Plot is an amusing light-hearted mystery which saw the Master return to sunnier climes (Northern California). But the notion that Hitchcock was mellowing is a false one. The last film he worked on, abandoned due to his failing health, was to be The Short Night. Based on the story of the escaped spy George Blake, starring Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, or Walter Matthau playing opposite Liv Ullmann or Catherine Deneuve and set in London and Finland, the script was to be written by Ernest Lehman, the screenwriter of North by Northwest (1959). However, Lehman left the project over Hitchcock's desire to include a graphic rape scene. This is history repeating itself, as a similar row about sexual violence had led The Birds (1963) screenwriter Evan Hunter to walk out on Marnie (1964).
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