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The Double McGuffin

Catalog Number
VA 4015
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The Double McGuffin (1979)
Additional Information
It's all about getting away with murder.

Alfred Hitchcock fans need not be reminded that "The McGuffin" is Hitchcock's term for the gimmicks (missing papers, stolen gems, uranium deposits) that motivate the plots of his thrillers. This much is explained by narrator Orson Welles at the beginning of the family-oriented The Double McGuffin. Hitchcock in-jokes abound in this innocuous adventure yarn, which stars Ernest Borgnine as an international terrorist (it's that kind of film). A bunch of kids in a sleepy Southern town tumble to Borgnine's scheme to assassinate a foreign prime minister, but of course the authorities don't believe a word. The kids decide to take matters into their own hands, which includes staging their own kidnapping to arouse the attention of the police. The film comes to a noisy climax during a school assembly, where the targeted prime minister is a keynote speaker. Like Ernest Borgnine, co-stars George Kennedy and Elke Sommer play their scenes straight, allowing full scope to the Saturday-matinee antics of the younger actors.

The Double McGuffin is a 1979 film written and directed by Joe Camp. It starred Ernest Borgnine and George Kennedy, alongside a group of young actors, some of whom later became quite famous, including Lisa Whelchel, who would go on to star in the sitcom The Facts of Life. Elke Sommer and NFL stars Ed 'Too Tall' Jones and Lyle Alzado also appear in smaller roles. The film also included a young Vincent Spano as well as Dion Pride (son of country singer Charley Pride). An opening narration is provided by Orson Welles. The cast was rounded out by Chicago native Michael Gerard, and Dallas area child actors Greg Hodges and Jeff Nicholson.[1]
At the beginning of the film, the narrator (Welles) informs the audience that a McGuffin is an object that serves as the focal point of the plot in the thriller genre. This film has two such objects (a suitcase of money and a severed hand).
The plot follows a group of boarding school students who discover, in succession, a suitcase full of money, a dead body, and a dismembered hand. They are unable to convince the local police to take them seriously, because they have not secured any evidence, and because the police chief (played by Kennedy) is suspicious of them due to their past misbehavior. They follow the evidence themselves and realize that a political assassination is planned at a school event. They foil the plot themselves.

Release Date: June 1979

Distrib: Mulberry Square


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