I believe it was Hitchcock who coined the term, "McGuffin," which is an item in a thriller or crime that doesn't matter but helps move the story along. My favorite McGuffin was the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. There's been a thousand theories on what was in the case. I always thought it was a 1/2 dozen Royale With Cheese burgers. Anyhow, what is your favorite McGuffin?

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Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on July 3, 2009 at 12:37pm
I forget what the short story was called, but in an anthology of crime fiction was a dead chicken. Some jerk ran it over and ate it. The chicken's owners, who never liked this jerk, got revenge by offing the guy and feeding him to their chickens.

Is that a McGuffin? Or is this a close cousin, the McMuffin?
Comment by D.R. MacMaster on July 3, 2009 at 11:33am
Pulp Fiction's briefcase is a classic. Was it gold, was it Ving Rhames' soul? Did Tarantino not bother to think one up, or did he leave it deliberately obscure?

Don't forget those wine bottles full of mysterious black powder in Notorious. You didn't know exactly what they were for, but it didn't matter, all you needed to know was that it was bad.

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