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The one where the main character is not a person or animal


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Watching WINCHESTER '73 yesterday (and again today) made me realize that the weapon in the title is certainly the main character of the story.  As it gets handed off to different owners, it is clear that most (though not all) the scenes ultimately revolve around it.

 

So this had me thinking about other classic films where the main character is not a person or animal. 

 

1burnt.png

The house in BURNT OFFERINGS came to mind.  So did the car in CHRISTINE.

1christine.png

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1win.jpg

Watching WINCHESTER '73 yesterday (and again today) made me realize that the weapon in the title is certainly the main character of the story.  As it gets handed off to different owners, it is clear that most (though not all) the scenes ultimately revolve around it.

 

So this had me thinking about other classic films where the main character is not a person or animal. 

 

1burnt.png

The house in BURNT OFFERINGS came to mind.  So did the car in CHRISTINE.

1christine.png

Rubber.

 

An evil killer tire.

 

Bet you think I'm joking.

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What is it with this "the one" stuff?

 

And the gun is not a character in W'73. It's a plot device -- a "Macguffin" -- to get the characters interacting with each other.

 

There are stories where the main character is an inanimate object -- The Little Engine That Could -- but the object has been anthropomorphized. According to the Guinness Book of Movie Records there was a film in the '70s set in a junkyard where all we see is machines moving around. That might come closest to your criteria.

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1win.jpg

Watching WINCHESTER '73 yesterday (and again today) made me realize that the weapon in the title is certainly the main character of the story.  As it gets handed off to different owners, it is clear that most (though not all) the scenes ultimately revolve around it.

 

So this had me thinking about other classic films where the main character is not a person or animal. 

 

1burnt.png

The house in BURNT OFFERINGS came to mind.  So did the car in CHRISTINE.

1christine.png

In TALES OF MANHATTAN, the main character is a tailcoat.

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With regards to Winchester '73,   well the Winters character also gets handed off to different owners in scene after scene.   But I can't think of a movie title that would have worked well related to that.

 

Note that the movie A Guy Named Joe would fit since Joe wasn't a person or animal.

 

Many horor movies might also fit since the lead isn't a person;  e.g. Dracula.

 

But I assume I'm taking 'person' too literally.    

 

Note that the titles of a lot of movies fit the category but like Kimble said these are "Macguffins";   e.g.  The Letter.     

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There is something else I saw where the main character was a revolver, I believe. I don't remember whether it was a film or a TV episode.

 

It was a '70s TV movie called The Gun, allegedly based on the history of the handgun owned by Sirhan Sirhan

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Watching WINCHESTER '73 yesterday (and again today) made me realize that the weapon in the title is certainly the main c not a person or animal. 

 

1burnt.png

The house in BURNT OFFERINGS came to mind.  So did the car in CHRISTINE.

1christine.png

 

The stupid "Her" (2014) now playing in theatres in which the  operating system (with a female voice) is the star.  Hope it crashes.

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The Lifeboat

 

The Silver Chief

 

The Stagecoach

 

The Wind

 

The Titanic

 

The Forbidden Planet

 

Exactly...

 

...although the "main character" doesn't need to be in the title.

For instance, the motel might qualify in Psycho (though perhaps

not the best example).

 

...something like that anyway...

 

Good subject.

 

[Edited by laffite]

 

==

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With regards to Winchester '73,   well the Winters character also gets handed off to different owners in scene after scene.   But I can't think of a movie title that would have worked well related to that.

   

This comment caught my attention. While true, I do not think the men in the story love the woman as much as they love the gun (with the exception of Stewart's character). They are passing her off to get rid of her, but the gun is a different matter. In one instance, Duryea passes the gun off with the intention of getting it back.  Even McNally is happy to regain possession of it, when he crosses paths with it again.

 

And incidentally, the final shot of the movie is a close-up of the gun, with the credits superimposed over it. We are reminded before the final fade out that the gun is the main point (the main star?) of this tale.

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I don't remember the title, but there is a film about the travels of a $20 bill, probably from the 90s.

 

There's another one that TCM has shown, where the main character is a hotel in Cairo.

If you're talking hotels, was the main character in GRAND HOTEL the hotel? or the Waldorf in WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF?

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You could argue "character" or "McGuffin" all you wish.

 

To try and settle this, I'm offering CHILD'S PLAY, with the main character being "CHUCKY", that idiotic possessed doll that was, regretfully, in a whole bushel of stupid sequels.

 

Sepiatone

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Would ET count? He was an alien, though he shared the starring role with the little boy.

 

Aliens would also count too, I think--the queen alien is as much a character as Ripley

 

You could also use the Pixar line-up: Toy Story 1-3; Cars 1 & 2; Wal-E; Planes (which is basically Cars with wings)

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This comment caught my attention. While true, I do not think the men in the story love the woman as much as they love the gun (with the exception of Stewart's character). They are passing her off to get rid of her, but the gun is a different matter. In one instance, Duryea passes the gun off with the intention of getting it back.  Even McNally is happy to regain possession of it, when he crosses paths with it again.

 

And incidentally, the final shot of the movie is a close-up of the gun, with the credits superimposed over it. We are reminded before the final fade out that the gun is the main point (the main star?) of this tale.

 

Well I still view the gun as a MacGuffin;    The main point of the tale was revenge.   i.e. this was a standard revenge drama.   One brother kills his father and the other brother hunts down his brother until he kills him or is killed.      

 

Don't get me wrong;  The use of the gun was a great plot device since it distracted from the revenge angle making the story a lot more interesting and robust,   especially the interaction between character other than the brother to brother one.    But the Steward character wasn't going after his brother to get his gun back,   but instead to revenge the killing of the father.   e.g  if Steward knew his killer brother had gone west but someone with his gun had gone east,   which way would Steward have gone?   West!        

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Well I still view the gun as a MacGuffin;    The main point of the tale was revenge.   i.e. this was a standard revenge drama.   One brother kills his father and the other brother hunts down his brother until he kills him or is killed.      

 

Don't get me wrong;  The use of the gun was a great plot device since it distracted from the revenge angle making the story a lot more interesting and robust,   especially the interaction between character other than the brother to brother one.    But the Steward character wasn't going after his brother to get his gun back,   but instead to revenge the killing of the father.   e.g  if Steward knew his killer brother had gone west but someone with his gun had gone east,   which way would Steward have gone?   West!        

I understand what a McGuffin is-- but it seems like a made up term to me (didn't Hitchcock or one of his writers coin it?).  I think it's a little too easy to say that any narrative trick, where the focus is on an inanimate object is a McGuffin or a red herring.  

 

What about Rosebud in CITIZEN KANE?  Certainly a narrative gimmick.  But is it a McGuffin?  In a way, Rosebud is a central idea (and a character in its own right) to understanding the psychological nature of Charles Foster Kane.

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Would ET count? He was an alien, though he shared the starring role with the little boy.

 

Aliens would also count too, I think--the queen alien is as much a character as Ripley

 

You could also use the Pixar line-up: Toy Story 1-3; Cars 1 & 2; Wal-E; Planes (which is basically Cars with wings)

 

Don't forget about pretty ole me.

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Did I miss it, or has nobody mentioned HAL-9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey yet?

 

And you could argue that the main character of Little Shop of Horrors is the plant.

 

More humorously, the main character in all the Traveltalks shorts is not James A. FitzPatrick, but the locations. ;)

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