Thursday, July 16, 2009

No I am not part Scottish...

For non-film buffs and film buffs who instinctively know film techniques but are not aware that they do; a Mcguffin is a plot element that catches viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction. The incomparable Alfred Hitchcock popularised both the term and the technique, a hallmark of his thrilling films. In 1966 the great French director Fran├žois Truffaut interviewed Mr. Hitchcock who illustrated the term "McGuffin"with this story: 

"It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, 'What's that package up there in the baggage rack?' And the other answers, 'Oh that's a McGuffin.' The first one asks, 'What's a McGuffin?' 'Well,' the other man says, 'It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.' The first man says, 'But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,' and the other one answers 'Well, then that's no McGuffin!' So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all."

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