We’re all familiar with twists at the end of films, but what about those near the start - say the first quarter of the film?
I’m not talking about division points, though I expect the two will largely coincide, or standard tropes, like the death of the mentor character - e.g. Obi Wan in Star Wars - but scenes like the death of Steven Segal’s character in Executive Decision.
Not so much a STORY twist, but an expectation twist, when one the best known (at the time) actors in the first Mission Impossible film (Emilio Estevez) gets offed within the first few minutes of the film.
Similar twist in Quintet from 1979, the first thirty minutes of the movie establish that Paul Newman’s girlfriend is the first pregnant woman in a long time to wander the post apocalyptic wastes, then she gets killed and the film moves in a different direction. That was unexpected!
I’m remembering a movie where the first thirty minutes made it seem like a coming of age buddy story until shockingly the one guy murders the other, it then flash forwards decades to a female investigator trying to find the by now prolific serial killer we saw in the opening.(the first part was the best part of the movie).
I came in to say Psycho, Scream, and From Dusk Til Dawn, but I see i don’t have to.
Psycho may be the best example (imho, ymmv), certainly the earliest in a popular film that I can think of. Hitchcock tended to innovate, sometimes by invention, and other times by using something someone already did, but AH did it better. I’m curious about Psycho. Was it an AH invention or a swell adaptation of a previously done thing?
I’m pretty sure that Psycho was the first film where the major star (and main character of the film up to that point) was killed early. It was one reason why Hitchcock originally did not allow people to enter the theater after the first half hour.
However, there are other mid-film twists that were earlier. In Laura (from 1944), the plot twist occurs about halfway through.
Laura is the murder victim, but it turns out she’s alive
My understanding was that the opening to Sunset Boulevard was considered a plot twist when it came out in that it told you how the movie was going to end. I don’t know if that fits with out current idea of a plot twist.
Similarly, the liquid metal properties of the T-1000. The way the movie was put together, that would’ve been quite a twist, but the marketing for the movie was highly focused on all the CGI involved with all his morphing and such, so it didn’t work out that way.
And for bonus Michael Caine points, Sleuth likewise has a major plot twist well before the halfway point: hired by a rich guy who’d get a big insurance check if heisted, our hero shrugs and dresses up like a cat burglar and goes climbing and makes it look like a break-in until his employer patiently explains that yeah, this was never about stealing anything; I only ever just wanted to shoot you dead, while looking like a panicked homeowner who fired in self-defense. Bang.