Angus MacPhail

Angus MacPhail (8 April 1903 22 April 1962) was an English screenwriter, active from the late 1920s. He is best remembered for his work with Alfred Hitchcock.[1]

Angus MacPhail
BornApril 8, 1903
London, England, United Kingdom
DiedApril 22, 1962(1962-04-22) (aged 59)
Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Alma materWestminster School
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
GenreScreenwriting, film

He was born in London and educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he studied English and edited Granta. He began to work in the film business in 1926, writing subtitles for silent films. He began writing his own scenarios for Gaumont British Studios and later Ealing Studios under Sir Michael Balcon. During World War II, he made films for the Ministry of Information.

MacPhail wrote a number of screenplays for director Alfred Hitchcock. One of the latter's favourite devices for driving the plots of his stories and creating suspense was what he called the MacGuffin. Ivor Montagu, who worked with Hitchcock on several of his British films, attributes the coining of the term to MacPhail.[2]



  1. "Angus McPhail". Screenonline.
  2. Montagu, Ivor (1980). "Working with Hitchcock". BFI. Sight & Sound. Archived from the original on 2013-10-27.
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