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Παρασκευή, 27 Απριλίου 2012

McGuffin...or not?


Διάβασα το παρακάτω σήμερα στο World Wide Words:

«According to the online Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded usage of the term “McGuffin”, is in a typescript of a lecture that Alfred Hitchcock gave at Columbia University on 30 March 1939:
We have a name in the studio, and we call it the “McGuffin”. It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers. We just try to be a little more original.
He is said to have derived it from a brief story of the shaggy-dog type told by his friend and colleague Angus MacPhail, an extraordinary valetudinarian eccentric with the memory of an elephant who delighted in wordplay, puns and puzzles and who at one time earned his living by making up jokes for Tommy Trinder. This is one version of the story:
The derivation of McGuffin, for a gimmick, is obscure. Hitchcock’s best explanation is also obscure. “There is a bloke on a train,” says the English director. “He sees a package, and asked what it is. Man says it’s a McGuffin. Other man asks what is a McGuffin? Other cove says a McGuffin is an apparatus for trapping lions in the Adirondacks. ‘But there are no lions in the Adirondacks,’ other bloke says. ‘Then this thing is no McGuffin,’ second lad says.”


Τhe identity of Hitchcock’s McGuffin is slippery. It’s the trigger for the story, the pretext on which the action depends that is used to catch the attention of the audience, but which isn’t important or relevant to the plot. It’s merely a catalyst, what one writer has called a “indispensable inconsequentiality”. This is how Hitchcock himself described it in a famous interview:
The theft of secret documents was the original McGuffin. So the “McGuffin” is the term we use to cover all that sort of thing: to steal plans or documents, or discover a secret, it doesn’t matter what it is. And the logicians are wrong in trying to figure out the truth of a McGuffin, since it’s beside the point. The only thing that really matters is that in the picture the plans, documents, or secrets must seem to be of vital importance to the characters. To me, the narrator, they’re of no importance whatsoever.
Hitchcock, by François Truffaut, 1967
In the US journal The Writer in 1926, Robert Haven Schauffler says “I forget who was the creator of ‘McGuffin,’ but a ‘McGuffin’ is a gift that is not to be opened until Christmas.”»


Με ενδιαφέρει πολύ αυτή η ιστορία με τo McGuffin - κυρίως γιατί στις ταινίες, ενώ όλη η πλοκή περιστρέφεται γύρω από αυτό και οι ήρωες νομίζουν ότι αυτό αναζητούν, στο τέλος πάντα βρίσκουν κάτι άλλο.
Βρίσκουν τον εαυτό τους, το μεγάλο τους έρωτα ή ακόμα και το θάνατο.
Κάθε πράγμα που νομίζεις πως επιθυμείς, μπορεί να είναι McGuffin…ή αυτό, το «άλλο».

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