I would suggest that there is no MacGuffin in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s motivations and the witch’s are entirely different that no MacGuffin could motivate them both.
TV PARTY TONIGHT!
On the one hand, this is true of other MacGuffins as well. Money being the obvious one: When people get it, they change, not too unlike The One Ring, really. On the other hand, The One Ring is clearly a metaphor and a reference to Plato, to the extent where it’s almost an abstraction, and most of what it causes it does far away from its actual physical location.
For the hobbits and those who directly encounter them, it’s very MacGuffiny-y. For everyone else, it could be (and has been) any excuse for power grabs or war.
I think the implication is that it’s an actual galaxy (the actual galaxy?). Its MacGuffiness may be an accident of poor writing, of which there is much in MiB.
Dooo they? Or was the power in Dorothy all along?
If they actually do, then Glinda’s a cold stone b**** who basically used Dorothy as hired muscle to get rid of a rival.
If we take it out of the realm of academic discussion, Hitchcock used it as a tool or a trope that allowed for a lot of great suspense scenes. Allegedly, anyway. I’m having trouble of thinking of an example.
Bruno’s lighter in Strangers on a Train? Not really. Cary Grant in NxNW was a case of mistaken identity. Psycho is MacGuffin-free, unless you want to count the suitcase full of money. But the protagonist of the movie (Norman Bates) doesn’t care about it at all.
Oh! Harry! In The Trouble With Harry. There ya go. The corpse is the MacGuffin.
That’s a plot device, not a MacGuffin. The important part isn’t that it drives the plot. The thing what makes a MacGuffin what it is is that it is essentially arbitrary. If when you refer to Lucas, you’re talking about the Death Star plans, I’d argue that’s not a MacGuffin because you can’t easily swap them out for a box of donuts.
For further reference on what I mean, see here:
That’s what made a MacGuffin for Hitchcock nearly a century ago, and there are plenty of stories that use that kind of MacGuffin. But the concept has evolved to include a different kind of MacGuffin, as argued by the video you linked to, which cited the Death Star plans and went on at length about the Ark of the Covenant as MacGuffins.
Here’s how Lucas put it:
The first building block of any Indiana Jones movie, according to Lucas, is something called the MacGuffin. The term, popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, refers to an object or goal that kicks the story into action and drives it to the third act. Hitchcock held that the less specific the MacGuffin the better. In his 1959 suspense classic, North by Northwest, the men chasing Cary Grant are after microfilm containing “government secrets”—that’s all the audience learns about why the film’s villains cause the hero so much trouble—and Hitchcock considered that to be a perfect MacGuffin, because it was so wonderfully vague. While Lucas agrees with his predecessor on the importance of the MacGuffin, his conception of the device differs significantly from Hitchcock’s. Rather than seeing it as a gimmick with the function of getting things rolling, Lucas believes that the MacGuffin should be powerful and that the audience should care about it almost as much as the dueling heroes and villains on-screen.
He feels he had an excellent one in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The much-sought-after Ark of the Covenant not only held the Ten Commandments but also functioned as “a radio to God” and possessed enough Old Testament power to smite those who looked on its treasures. If the Nazis were to gain control of it, instead of good old Indy, well, you can imagine the consequences. But a first-rate MacGuffin is hard to find, and Lucas says he was not completely satisfied with those he had for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the sacred Shankara Stones, which, for reasons no audience can keep straight, must be retrieved in order to save kidnapped village children from an Indian death cult) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the life-giving Holy Grail, which comes in handy when Indy’s dad is dying).
“I’m the one that has to come up with the story, and the MacGuffin, the supernatural object that everyone’s going after … ” Lucas’s voice trails off. He is seated in a favorite chair, its cushions lumpy and dented. “The Ark of the Covenant was perfect. The Shankara Stones were way too esoteric. The Holy Grail was sort of feeble—but, at the same time, we put the father in there to cover for it. I mean, the whole reason it became a dad movie was because I was scared to hell that there wasn’t enough power behind the Holy Grail to carry a movie. So we kept pushing to have it function on some level—and to make it function for a father and a son. To make it that kind of a movie was the big risk and the big challenge, but also the thing that pulled it out of the fire. So, at the end of it, I was like, No more of these, baby. We’re done. I can’t think of anything else. We barely got by on the last one!
For further reference, see the video I linked to at the top of the thread.
And thus do all words ultimately become meaningless.
SO DO YOU!!!
Often, MacGuffin is used as a pejorative, but I love me a good MacGuffin hunt. There’s a thing! It’s hard to get to. Everyone wants it! Go! It might be an easy story device, but it’s almost never not-fun.
A casualty of the Netflix cancellation. We’ll never know more about that. Probably.