Been a while. Shall we recap? A MacGuffin, lest we forget, is any object or doodad in a story or film that every character wants desperately to get their hands on. It hardly matters what said object is; all we need to know is that everyone wants it, and will do whatever it takes to get it, often at the expense of each other's lives. Done right, the MacGuffin will reveal important truths about the characters (i.e., just how much is this person willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish his/her goals?). Done wrong, or explain it too much, and, well, who cares?
To wit: In Paramount's Mission: Impossible series, Tom Cruise and his Impossible Mission Force are sent to retrieve any number of mysterious artifacts, from a computer file to a vial full of hazardous material, before bad guys can sell it for profit or terror. Characters resolve their differences with bullets or by beating each other to a bloody pulp. In Jaws, the MacGuffin is the shark - the existence of which will test the limits of the three men who set out to stop it. And in Hitchcock's Notorious, uranium stored in champagne bottles forces a spy (Cary Grant) to put the woman he loves (Ingrid Bergman) in harm's way.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
A(nother) new feature here at FTWW, in which we celebrate the unsung heroes of the cinema: those hard-working, multi-faceted professionals who've dipped their toes into just about every motion picture ever made - though you'd be hard-pressed to remember who they are or where you'd seen them before. In their own way, their talents are every bit as recognizable as Robert De Niro's or Meryl Streep's - even if their faces are not. With this series, hopefully, we aim to change all that.
Born June 13, 1951, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Stellan Skarsgård didn't initially plan on becoming an actor (he says he wanted to be a diplomat), yet he lucked into it anyway, when he was cast as the title character in the TV series Bomvbi Bitt och jag (Bombi Bitt & I, 1968) at 16 years old. The role catapulted him to the status of a rock star in his native country, and in 1972, Skarsgård joined The Royal Dramatic Theatre Company in Stockholm, where he worked regularly on stage and in film for directors such as Alf Sjberg and Ingmar Bergman. It wasn't until 1985, however, that he gained international acclaim, playing a mentally-disturbed immigrant farmhand in the American Playhouse episode Noon Wine. He won the Guldbagge and Silver Berlin Bear awards for his efforts. Naturally, it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling.