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CaveGirl

Tasty MacGuffins

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Being the holidays, I've been enjoying some very tantalizing MacGuffins from various entities.

Anyone who has ever consumed a MacGuffin, knows that the best kind don't lay it on too thick with icing or accoutrements, which might ruin one's own concept of the delicacy. A heady whiff of the item, will not spoil the mystery in searching out where one can find the item, but those who try too hard to crack that walnut and put the poor thing under a microscope are always disappointed plus their lack of imagination in accepting the MacGuffin without knowing all its ingredients, ruins things for others. Such people are downers and would try to find the Lost Chord or Nessie's DNA.

Name your favorite MacGuffin, but not if it was on the menu at Alfred Hitchcock's meal in which all the food was blue.

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In my opinion, the greatest of all movie MacGuffins was the stolen $40,000 in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." After Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) decides to return it, we pretty much forget about it after the surprise twist at the Bates Motel. In fact, we probably don't think about it again until the final scene of the movie. 

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I prefer the sausage MacGuffin with cheese myself. ;)

Hmmm.....looks like I'll be going OUT for breakfast....

Sepiatone

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5 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I prefer the sausage MacGuffin with cheese myself. ;)

Hmmm.....looks like I'll be going OUT for breakfast....

But there aren't any lions in the Scottish Highlands! 

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14 hours ago, jakeem said:

In my opinion, the greatest of all movie MacGuffins was the stolen $40,000 in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." After Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) decides to return it, we pretty much forget about it after the surprise twist at the Bates Motel. In fact, we probably don't think about it again until the final scene of the movie. 

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Yeah, really it is integral to the original seeming plot and then disappears like a load of bricks into the river bed along with Marian and the car, never to be seen or worried about again. I gotta agree with you, Jakeem...good call!

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No. 2 would be the wine bottle full of uranium in another Hitchcock film -- "Notorious" (1946). It's an important discovery by the undercover American operatives played by Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. But for the longest time the uranium takes a back seat to the relationship between the two characters. At one point, they pretend to be in love to throw her husband (played by Claude Rains) off the trail of their real purpose in the wine cellar. And yet they really are in love with each other. 

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There's the briefcase in Pulp Fictiowith something glowing inside it that everybody wants, but we never learn what it is. Ultimately, whatever is in the briefcase has no relevance to the movie, which is about ... well, I'm not sure Pulp Fiction is really about anything except being stylish and placing its characters in a lot of really goofy, off the wall situations (which doesn't mean I don't like it!), Yes, Tarantino stole the whole briefcase bit from Kiss Me Deadly, but I would argue the briefcase's contents aren't a MacGuffin in that movie because they actually do end up figuring into the plot in a major way.

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sFrom what I've read, the Holy Grail is the ultimate MacGuffin in literature, film and TV. It can be called a variety of names but it is the magical object that supposedly propels the whole narrative, but really doesn't. "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is a good comic example.

The first film that came to mind for this thread is "The Maltese Falcon". Although there is actually a figure supposedly covered in jewels and gold and Sam Spade ends up with it, what makes it a MacGuffin, I think, is the way everyone dedicates their lives to finding it and end up without it. "The stuff that dreams are made of." It represents greed in general.

"The letters of Transit" in "Casablanca"

The diamonds in "Reservoir Dogs" another Quentin Tarantino film, are rarely seen and barely mentioned; as is the unseen robbery that precipitates the actual movie

The ransom in "The Big Lebowski" the suitcase containing it gets lost and isn't really important

The bike in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" he ultimately finds it, but that's not the point.

The $2 million in "No Country for Old Men"

 

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I just read an interesting list of HUMAN MacGuffins in films such as:

Harry Lime in "The Third Man"

Private Ryan in "Saving Private Ryan"

Dylan (the baby) in "Children of Men"

Col. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now"

 

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Then there's the spy ring in Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps." We don't even find out about it until the final moments of the movie. And it takes a back seat to the adventures of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) on the lam after he's falsely accused of murder.

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Found this in WIKI:

 

In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonistpursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The MacGuffin's importance to the plot is not the object itself, but rather its effect on the characters and their motivations. The most common type of MacGuffin is a person, place, or thing (such as money or an object of value). Other more abstract types include victory, glory, survival, power, love, or some unexplained driving force.

The MacGuffin technique is common in films, especially thrillers. Usually the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act, and thereafter declines in importance. It may reappear at the climax of the story but sometimes is actually forgotten by the end of the story. Multiple MacGuffins are sometimes derisively identified as plot coupons.[1][2]

In this case, since the OP is about "tasty" MacGuffins, I'd add BUBBA REEVES form "The Chase" since my wife would consider ROBERT REDFORD to be "tasty". ;)

Sepiatone

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OK, I'll dredge up this "golden oldie" and mention two....

Whatever was in the trunk of that old '64 Malibu in REPO MAN.

And what was in the briefcase SAMUEL L. JACKSON and JOHN TRAVOLTA tracked down in PULP FICTION.

Don't know WHY it took more than a half year for them to occur to me.  :blink:

Sepiatone

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1 minute ago, Sepiatone said:

OK, I'll dredge up this "golden oldie" and mention two....

Whatever was in the trunk of that old '64 Malibu in REPO MAN.

And what was in the briefcase SAMUEL L. JACKSON and JOHN TRAVOLTA tracked down in PULP FICTION.

Don't know WHY it took more than a half year for them to occur to me.  :blink:

Sepiatone

The joking/not-joking (depending on who's telling it) story behind Pulp Fiction's mystery is that it's crime boss Marcellus' (Ving Rhames) soul inside the case, which is why he has a band-aid on the back of his neck, from where the soul was extracted. I know, it's very silly. However, it was meant to be deliberately vague, and an homage to the glowing radioactive case in Kiss Me Deadly.

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The current release "Bad Times At The El Royale" has a great MacGuffin, it involves a reel of film, which is all I will say... go see the film.

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