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Family Plot

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    71
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Family Plot's UHD dazzles; a must-have upgrade, strongly recommended.

    Family Plot 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    78
  • Universal's UHD upgrades of Hitchcock films dazzle with improved resolution, colors, and grain, despite Family Plot's best leap and minor inconsistencies.

  • Audio
    63
  • The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtracks offer clear, well-balanced audio with ample spatial depth and robust detail, enhancing the viewing experience without needing modern up-mixes.

  • Extra
    68
  • This UHD release includes legacy extras and a Blu-ray disc, featuring an embossed slipcover and digital copy. Bonus content: Plotting Family Plot, storyboard, photos, and trailers in 1080p.

  • Movie
    78
  • Universal's UHD release of Hitchcock's 'Family Plot' offers 2160p/HDR visuals with legacy extras, part of a larger 5-film collection. A darkly humorous tale of con artists and jewel thieves, it marks a fittingly intricate finale to Hitchcock's career.

    Video: 78

    In this latest 4K UHD presentation of "Family Plot," Universal significantly enhances what was previously considered a substandard Blu-ray version, elevating the visual experience. The 2160p/HDR upgrade markedly improves upon resolution and color fine-tuning, showcasing a more visually compelling and naturally occurring grain structure. Despite some inherent softness in the imagery, the majority of scenes boast razor-sharp clarity and complex organic detail, significantly outperforming the original Blu-ray. Colors benefit from a nuanced HDR application, striking a balance between added depth and natural boldness, leading to a presentation that is both vibrant and tastefully restrained. This upgrade provides an exemplary demonstration of how HDR can enhance the film's original palette, with solid primaries and notably brilliant skin tones, although it does occasionally suffer from black level crush. Overall, Universal's effort here represents a considerable leap over its Blu-ray counterpart, particularly in terms of resolution, color fidelity, and grain texture.

    However, it's important to note the inconsistencies present in the transfer. While certain scenes display remarkable sharpness and detail, such as the attempted murder sequence on the mountain road with its spot-on contrast and brilliant whites, others are marred by softness and distracting grain structure. These inconsistencies, especially apparent in scenes involving rear-projection effects, detract slightly from an otherwise stellar upgrade. Blacks are deep and rich, contributing to the image's dynamic range, yet the overall inconsistency in picture quality becomes a caveat. The HDR10 presentation's favoring of warm earth tones over a broader color spectrum and its strong facial complexion rendering stand out as highlights.

    In summary, "Family Plot"'s transition to 4K UHD is characterized by significant improvements in resolution, color grading, and natural film grain presentation, elevating it far above the original Blu-ray release. Universal has offered a commendable presentation with vibrant colors, deep blacks, and nuanced details. However, the experience is somewhat diminished by variability in image quality across different sequences. Despite these variances, this release is undoubtedly the definitive visual version of Hitchcock's final film, offering both an upgrade and a testament to the potential of 4K restoration to bring classic cinema to life with modern technology fidelity.

    Audio: 63

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Family Plot" maintains the audio fidelity with its DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 lossless soundtrack, identically sourced from its Blu-ray release. This technical choice ensures a robust auditory experience, notable for its impressive clarity and balance. The mix presents a well-defined front-end soundstage, where dialogue, music, and ambient effects are crisply delineated, centering the dialogue effectively to capture every nuance of the performances, especially highlighting Barbara Harris's distinct vocal inflections. The maintenance of this 2.0 format, rather than an unnecessary expansion to incorporate height channels, is commendable; it underscores a fidelity to the original sound design that already possesses a depth and clarity rendering additional modifications superfluous.

    The soundtrack's technical prowess extends to its dynamic range, with a surprising low-end that adds substantial weight to certain scenes without overshadowing the midrange's acoustical details. This balance facilitates a clear and expansive auditory field that enhances both the score by John Williams and the various ambient effects that create an immersive atmosphere. Despite the mono presentation, there is a nuanced layering of sounds, from foreground dialogue to background noises, such as the rustling of leaves or birds chirping. These elements combined give the audio track an almost tangible texture that significantly elevates the visual experience.

    Moreover, the design of this audio mix adeptly supports Auro-3D up-mixing technology, allowing for an effective expansion of ambient effects into the front height channels, thereby creating an enveloping half-dome soundstage. This feature cleverly enhances the listening experience by subtly incorporating vertical acoustic elements, further proving the sound engineering’s meticulous attention to delivering an expansive yet faithful replication of the original soundscape.

    Extra: 68

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Family Plot" brings a straightforward repackaging of extras previously available on Blu-ray, efficiently carried over without adding new supplements. These detailed technical elements uphold the film's legacy, meticulously presenting behind-the-scenes content in high definition. Included in the package is the legacy Blu-ray disc, allowing for a comprehensive comparison between formats. A digital copy code via Movies Anywhere enhances its collectible value, underscoring the release’s appeal to film aficionados and Hitchcock fans alike. The inclusion of an embossed slipcover further elevates the physical allure of this edition, making it a valuable addition to any collector's shelf while seamlessly integrating with the technological advancements of 4K UHD.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Plotting Family Plot: In-depth exploration of the film's development.
    • Storyboards: The Chase Scene: Detailed storyboard comparison for a key scene.
    • Production Photographs: Collection of behind-the-scenes and promotional images.
    • Theatrical Trailers: Original trailers for the film.

    Movie: 78

    Universal Studios Home Entertainment's release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1976 swan song, "Family Plot," onto 4K UHD Blu-ray, breathes new life into this dark comedy thriller. Available both as an individual release and within a comprehensive five-film box set (also including "Shadow of a Doubt," "Saboteur," "The Trouble with Harry," and "Marnie"), this edition enhances the visual experience with a 2160p/HDR video upgrade. Despite the absence of new audio tracks or additional content, the inclusion of all legacy supplements on the UHD disc ensures a complete package for Hitchcock enthusiasts and new viewers alike, enhancing the appreciation for "Family Plot's" intricate narrative and stylistic nuances.

    "Family Plot" remarkably melds suspense with black humor, diverging from its source material, Victor Canning's "The Rainbird Pattern," to deliver a story rich in complexity and character interplay. The plot weaves together the lives of two couples: faux psychic Blanche (Barbara Harris) and her boyfriend George (Bruce Dern), alongside professional criminals Arthur Adamson (William Devane) and Fran (Karen Black). Their adventures, filled with dry humor and unexpected twists, lead to an inevitable yet surprising confrontation that epitomizes Hitchcock’s mastery of storytelling. The film meticulously plays with the theme of deception, both in the characters’ intentions and in the viewer's expectations, leading to a climax that is as fulfilling as it is unforeseen.

    The technical presentation on the 4K UHD platform accentuates Hitchcock's directorial finesse and the narrative's visual elements with heightened clarity and depth. While the movie retains its original audio configuration, this does not detract from experiencing the film's detailed sound design in contemporary home theater setups. Overall, "Family Plot" in 4K UHD is a commendable update, ensuring that Hitchcock's final cinematic endeavor can be appreciated with renewed visual splendor, making it a must-have for cinephiles and fans of the Master of Suspense.

    Total: 71

    Universal's latest offering, the 4K UHD Blu-ray of Alfred Hitchcock's "Family Plot," represents a significant leap over its Blu-ray counterpart, offering an indisputably superior viewing experience. The transfer to 4K UHD showcases a drastic improvement in image quality that can only be described as spectacular. Although the audio track and supplemental features remain unchanged from the Blu-ray version, this release is still a compelling upgrade. Anchored by a well-structured and enthralling black comedy thriller plot, the adaptation of Victor Canning's mystery novel emerges as both a visually arresting and enjoyably intricate cinematic journey, making it a must-have for aficionados of Hitchcock and high-quality home video collections alike.

    The technical aspects of this Ultra HD version reveal a strong and mostly impressive 4K HDR10 presentation, albeit paired with the same DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack and the reuse of legacy bonus content from its predecessor. This decision, while perhaps disappointing to those seeking fresh extras, does not detract significantly from the overall package, ensuring that fans looking to upgrade will find ample value in this edition. The meticulous attention to detail in the film's plot and the upgraded visual fidelity ensure "Family Plot" stands out as an amusingly convoluted ride, leading to a satisfyingly unexpected dénouement that enhances its stature within Hitchcock's oeuvre.

    In conclusion, Universal's 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Family Plot" serves as a noteworthy upgrade primarily for its visually remarkable presentation. Despite retaining the original audio track and bonus materials, the enhanced visual experience alone makes it highly recommended for collectors and enthusiasts alike. It reaffirms the film's position as a deserving addition to any serious home video library and underscores the continuing relevance of Hitchcock's final film within the domain of classic cinema presented in contemporary formats.