Screen Two (1985–2002)
3 user

The McGuffin 

A penurious film critic begins to wonder if his increasingly complicated life isn't rather like the plot of a Hitchcock film.


Colin Bucksey


Michael Thomas (screenplay), John Bowen (based on novel)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Dance ... Paul Hatcher
Ann Todd ... Mrs. Forbes-Duthie
Mark Rylance ... Gavin
Bill Shine ... From The Rear Window
Neville Phillips ... From The Rear Window
Paul McKenzie Paul McKenzie ... From The Rear Window
Ray Shell Ray Shell ... From The Rear Window
Francis Matthews ... Silver-Haired Gent
Stephen Ruff Stephen Ruff ... Mickey Rooney
Roger Lloyd Pack ... David Power
Sue Peacock Sue Peacock ... Newscaster
Brian Glover ... Man in Brown
Chris Langham ... Detective
Phyllis Logan ... Anne
Anna Massey ... Nina


Hatcher is a film critic and he's seen too many movies. So when he looks from his rear window and sees a blonde menacing the old lady opposite, it's all too familiar. He gets rapidly and fatally drawn into a mangled net of blackmail, violence and evil deeds in high places - just like the kind of film he loves reviewing. But this time the danger's all too real, or is it? Written by GusF

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From Voyeur To Victim....









Release Date:

12 January 1986 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


Last film role of Ann Todd. See more »


References Napoleon (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

An Odd Film; Apparently So Odd Few Have Seen It
20 February 2008 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I'm shocked that 23 years after this movie was released, I am the first person to review it. How can that be? It isn't that the film has nobody in it that anyone has ever heard of, since Charles Dance has acted in a number of movies and is face is fairly well known.

Whatever, this is a strange film. Maybe it was too strange for people in the mid '80s and, as I recall, it was a BBC film so maybe it got just limited exposure and mainly in England.......yet.....I bought a used VHS copy here in the States. ( I'm just trying to figure out what there are no reviews on this.)

Some of the stuff I liked and didn't like, in no particular order: the film has a lot of style to it, but the lead character - Dance playing "Paul Hatcher" - is just too unappealing. The main character is a transvestite and begins to really act weird in spots. The script also is a bit talky for a suspense thriller. It need more action. It had an interesting premise: a movie critic who spies on his neighbors. He gets caught, and look out! Then, Hatcher, who isn't real stable to begin with, starts confusing reality with movie fiction. Without giving anything away, he winds up on the hit list of mobsters.

As I said, it's a strange film. Frankly, I'd like to see it again, this time with a good DVD transfer.

By the way, the definition of McGuffin - as used in film - is "a plot device that has no specific meaning or purpose other than to advance the story; any situation that motivates the action of a film either artificially or substantively. It's also written 'MacGuffin.'"

Does that clarify anything? Probably not, any more than the film does, which is another reason I would like to read others' opinions of this odd movie.

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