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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's under-valued Cold War drama
TORN CURTAIN was a film which Hitchcock never wanted to make; he still owed Universal one more film under his contract and was waiting for the right story to come along. At Universal's insistence, he made this under-valued Cold War thriller.
Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman - CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF) is a world-famous scientist to goes to an international congress in...
Published on July 22, 2002 by Byron Kolln

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars definitely felt like hitchock but not a quick step
US scientist goes to Denmark. His fiance/assistant goes along. We learn he didn't want her to come along. But then some mysterious behavior happens and the next thing the viewer and assistant/fiance know the scientist is defecting to East Germany. You then see mysterious people and behavior unfold kinda like a Northwest by Northwest kinda movie.

Interesting...
Published 8 months ago by S. T. Peterson


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's under-valued Cold War drama, July 22, 2002
By 
Byron Kolln (the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
TORN CURTAIN was a film which Hitchcock never wanted to make; he still owed Universal one more film under his contract and was waiting for the right story to come along. At Universal's insistence, he made this under-valued Cold War thriller.
Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman - CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF) is a world-famous scientist to goes to an international congress in Copenhagen with his fiancee/assistant Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews - STAR!, DARLING LILI). While there, Sarah mistakenly picks up a message meant for him and discovers that he is defecting to East Germany. Or is he? As Armstrong goes undercover to glean top-secret information, the couple are swept up in a heart-pounding chase to escape with their lives....
Hitchcock reportedly hated working with Newman and Andrews (he did not personally cast them, they were assigned to the film by the studio). The music was provided by John Addison, although Hitchcock veteran Bernard Herrmann was originally going to provide the score.
However, the film does have some very good scenes: the bus ride, the post office, the climactic MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH-esque ballet sequence and the fight in the cottage.
Also starring Lila Kedrova, Tamara Toumanova, Ludwig Donath and David Opatoshu.
The DVD includes the making-of documentary "Torn Curtain Rising", a condensed version of the film with Bernard Herrmann's original score, an art gallery and the trailer.
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68 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hitchcock's Greatest Villains-- GROMEK, November 21, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
I absolutely loved Gromek, the German agent in this film. One of the most likable villains Hitchcock ever put to film, he throws about 'Americanisms' in wonderfully broken English while smacking on a piece of gum. Very sinister and funny at the same time, and the scene of his death definitely belongs in the Hitchcock highlight reel.
Unfortunately, as in "Psycho," this most interesting character is killed within the first half of the movie, and the rest lags afterwards. Really, really a shame...he's far more interesting than Paul Newman's character.
If I were to rank this among Hitch's other later films, I'd say it's better than "Topaz" or "Marnie," but not as good as "Frenzy." 5 Stars, however, because nobody can touch Hitchcock.
HERE'S AN IDEA FOR A DVD RE-RELEASE...WHY NOT PUT OUT A VERSION OF THIS FILM WITH THE OPTION OF LISTENING TO BERNARD HERRMANN'S ORIGINAL SCORE?!?!? IF YOU LIKE THIS IDEA, SEND A MESSAGE BY VOTING THIS REVIEW 'HELPFUL.'
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Newman and Julie Andrews in an interesting combination, May 16, 2002
By 
Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Torn Curtain [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I really dont understand why this great little film which contains a superbly tense story and edge of the seat suspense is always dismissed as a disappointment.
On the contrary it has always been a favourite Hitchcock film of mine, certainly not up to the standards of the classic "Rebecca" or even "North by Northwest', but still a tense piece of film making.
It was Hichcock's 50th film and certainly was one of the last truly good films he directed in his illustrious career. His superb knack for creating suspence and tension is evident from the first frame and makes for a terrific piece of film making. Once the story gets going the pace and suspence never lets up as the main characters move from Norway to Copenhagen to East Berlin behind the Iron Curtain, hence the title. I feel Paul Newman and Julie Andrews...at first thought not an expected combination, work extremely well together and come across as a believable combination. Julie Andrews certainly doesn't have as flashy a role in "Torn Curtain" as she does in "The Sound of Music" "Thoroughly Modern Millie" or "Star" but she nevertheless handles her role of Sarah Sherman, personal secretary to the brilliant rocket scientist Professor Michael Armstrong (Newman),in a most interesting manner. Julie is always such an attractive performer and in "Torn Curtain" she gives her all in what is essentially a difficult role and one fraught with lots of unpredictable situations.
The story line of Paul Newman's character pretending to defect to East Germany to obtain valuable information on a new secret formula from a scientist in Leipzeig might appear dated now but it makes for a very clever and fast moving story. Newman's character pretends to go over to the Eastern Bloc only to discover that Andrews has followed him out of not only love but to see what he is actually up to. Their time in East Berlin is action packed and colorful to say the least as they encounter "personal guides" such as the infamous Gromek, the sweaty, gum chewing villian of the piece who ends up being murdered in one of the most memorable and painstaking murder sequences of Alfred Hitchcock's career aside from the shower sequence in "Psycho". It is a totally awe inspiring moment and while I dont like violence for violence sake this sequence is magnificently done, with no dialogue, and is easily, along with the nail biting bus chase, the most memorable part of the film and indeed in Hitchcock's career.
Hitchcock not only keeps the action moving at a break neck pace but he also populates his story with many interesting characters along the way as Newman and Andrews plan their escape from East Germany when they are exposed. One memorable character is the Polish Countess Kuchinska played by actress Lila Kedrova, who only wants a sponsor to be able to get to the United States. Her's is a tragic and thought provoking interlude in the main characters race to beat the German authorities over the border. Equally memorable is Check ballet dancer Tamara Toumanova who reappears a few times in the story and is almost responsible for intercepting the main characters escape. She is excellent in what is essentially a small but stand out part.
The overraul look of the film benefits from the many beautiful European locations utilised during filming and although East Berlin was impossible to film in circa 1966, an excellent use of similiar locations has been incorporated to give the effect of the dull and uninteresting Eastern Bloc existence.
As a piece of entertainment dealing with the Cold War "Torn Curtain" is first rate and never fails to be a great piece of viewing entertainment with two terrific performers in Paul Newman and Julie Andrews in the leads.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Cold War Drama!, July 9, 2004
By 
classicmoviefan (Rancho Mirage, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
Amazon's own reviewer says this is one of Hitchcock's "lesser efforts"... I disagree. There are some amazing scenes in this film, gorgeous cinematography, stunning action scenes, a great chase and tension everywhere. This is not "North by Northwest" or "Vertigo".... but it is just as exciting, if not more so than "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "39 Steps" and "Rear Window". Julie Andrews is stunning and superb as the wife who does not know who her husband seems to be working for. Paul Newman is perfectly cast as the mysterious and secretive husband... and the supporting cast is incredible.... especially Wolfgang Kieling was "Gromek", the relentless and sadistic kidnapper. Real life ballerina Tamara Toumanova who dances beautifully, but who comes complete with an "evil eye" on things. Lila Kedrova whos words "Will you be my sponsor?" will haunt you long after the movie ends.... and Carolyn Conwell, who is amazing along with Paul Newman's character in the farm scene! Wow!! The DVD transfer is superb and this film is a sure winner all the way.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Underated Hitchcock Classic, September 24, 2000
By 
Paul (New Jersey, The United States of America) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Torn Curtain [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of Hitchcock's last truely great films. Is Paul Newman really defecting to East Berlin, or is he a double agent?His secretary, and fiancee, Julie Andrews (shedding her Mary Poppins image) tries to find out. The bus scene is classic Hitchcock, and the murder of the German agent is one of the best scenes ever filmed. I also love the scene when Paul and Julie are at the ballet.
This film has all of Hitchcock's trademarks, suspence, comedy, love, and, of course, his cameo appearence. This can not be missed by a true Hitchcock fan.
Watch it at least twice to really appreciate it!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspensefull, June 13, 2004
By 
B. Jones "Boulovani" (MEMPHIS, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
I thought this was a great movie.I enjoyed the chemistry between Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.I think it added to the frustration that she felt,not knowing what her Fiance'was up to.I felt the murder scene of Gromeck was very shocking or at the very least grisly and graphic.I enjoyed the bus scene and the scenes where the older woman was trying to help the two lovers escape from their captors .
This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Torn Curtain underrated Number 50 from Hitchcock, August 22, 2000
This review is from: Torn Curtain [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This was Alfred Hithcock's 50th motion picture. This film marked a departure from his most recent bulk of films at that time, not in directorial style, but in the absence of many of his close-knit artistic-technical company he had been utilizing. Distinctively missing is collaborator-composer Bernard Herrmann. However, John Addison does a commendable job in Herrmann's absence, as his score seems to fit this film very well with the passage of time.
This was a cold war drama set behind the Iron Curtain. The hero of the story as portrayed by Paul Newman is motivated less by personal staunchness for democratic idealism, but rather by his inner confrontation coming to grips with his own failure as a scientist.
This very suspenseful film is really about his own redemption for his perceived failure. This film is has been highly underrated.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb movie, classic Hitchcock!, July 8, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
Why are all the film critics so down on this one? This is my favorite Hitchcock film, except for maybe Rear Window. Julie Andrews and Paul Newman are excellent in this Cold War thriller. So many suspenseful scenes in this...the bus scene, the Lindt scene with the Gamma 5 project, the ballet ruse, etc. This is much better than the appraised "North by Northwest," and "Notorious." Such a great plot, with more complications as it progresses. Everyone should see it! (Just beware of the farm scene)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Torn Curtain", very Underrated!, October 18, 2008
By 
customer (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Torn Curtain (DVD)
"Torn Curtain" stars Paul Newman as Professor Michael Armstrong, an American scientist who defects to East Germany when Washington does not support his "Gamma-5" project. He planned to keep his defection secret from his girlfriend/assistant Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews). When Sarah discovers a message intended for Michael, she decides to follow him behind the Iron Curtain. Later, when he reveals to Sarah his true intentions for coming to East Germany, it is an exciting chase for them to escape with their lives.

The film seems to have all the necessary ingredients to make a classic Hitchcock political thriller, right? Yes and no. The film has some very suspenseful qualities, but it has its flaws,too. The best moments in the film are the nail-biting and eerily silent museum sequence, the gruesome murder scene of the suspicious inspector Gromek, the bus scenes, and the climax in the theater (reminiscent of "The Man Who Knew too Much").

The film's problems start with that it is just a little bit long. It could have cut maybe five or ten minutes and I would not have complained. Secondly, the film's music. Hitchcock fired his longtime collaborator Bernard Herrmann (who wrote the music for "Vertigo", "North by Northwest", and "Psycho" among others) when he and Universal were unsatisfied with his musical score. So, they hired a new composer, John Addison. Frankly, Addison's music is not nearly as good as Herrmann's would've been. It feels out of place and just wrong for some scenes. Last but not least is Julie Andrews. While I think Paul Newman was a fine choice in the role of Armstrong, Julie Andrews just doesn't fit the part of a Hitchcock leading lady as well as Grace Kelly or Kim Novak. I think she is too stiff and librarianish. Apparently, neither of them were Hitchcock's first choice, for they were both chosen for him by Universal because of their popularity at the time.

The DVD is very nice. I had no problems with picture or sound. The disc has good bonus features including a thirty minute making-of documentary called "Torn Curtain Rising", an interesting look at what certain scenes would be like with Herrmann's music, the theatrical trailer for the film, and production notes and photographs.

Overall, this film is very good Hitchcock, not excellent Hitchcock. 4 stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie!, May 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Torn Curtain [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is not top hitchcock but still gas some of his trade marks. It would have been better if they worked on some parts of the movie , it would been much better because the story plot is very good and full of excitment ! The cast and director tried , and were great if they paid more attention to the screenplay and more though still a good movie that tears you apart with suspence!!
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Torn Curtain
Torn Curtain by Alfred Hitchcock
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