What's the MacGuffin? Kiss Me Deadly

Is it important to the story? Yes! Does the audience need to care about it? No! That’s a MacGuffin!

This month we’re celebrating one of film’s great narrative devices — coined by screenwriter Angus MacPhail and popularized by Alfred Hitchcock — and we guarantee you won’t want to miss this nuclear-age Noir that’s so nasty and nihilistic it’s positively radioactive.

Masterfully directed by Robert Aldrich (“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”) and based on Mickey Spillane’s novel, the story follows private eye Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) as he gets pulled into a deadly whirlwind of intrigue by a strange hitchhiking woman named Christina (Cloris Leachman). But, when the pair is nabbed by strangers, things take a deadly turn.

Although warned not to investigate, Mike keeps pulling the thread until he digs himself deeper into a dark plot, all revolving around his search for ‘the great whatzit’ (our MacGuffin!) – a mysterious, glowing briefcase that results in a trail of corpses.

What's the MacGuffin? Kiss Me Deadly

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