Torn Curtain (1966)
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While Torn Curtain is certainly 'lesser Hitchcock', the Master of Suspense really deals out some suspense in this one. Overall Torn Curtain is decent, unremarkable, of some interest to Hitchcock fans. Hitch's reliance on rear projection was getting annoying at this point, the worst offender being the restaurant scene.
Perhaps if he had had more time to develop the script and maybe not Julie Andrews. I dont mind the score but it is rather stale for a Hitchcock picture. A lot of what made his films so great was the music.
Hitchcock's Torn Curtain is a spy thriller with lots of good ideas, but casting Julie Andrews as the female lead is probably not one of them. Apparently, Hitch was forced into it by her rising star, off the success of both Marie Poppins and The Sound of Music on Broadway. It starts with her under the covers with Paul Newman, and that's a little uncomfortable. But she's fine, generally. In the film, Newman's physicist takes it upon himself to defect to East Germany so he can steal scientific secrets from their leading scientist. His plans and his escape from behind the Iron Curtain is complicated when his fiancée follows him there. From what I understand, Hitch felt the script was rushed into production by Andrews' schedule, and found a lot to fault about Torn Curtain, but it's still full of great moments. The extended murder of a East German operative is one of the best things Hitchcock has ever filmed, immediate and visceral. The sequence in the bus is a great example of turning any situation into a thriller. The character of the Polish aristocrat is a quirky triumph. Even the way Hitch makes math exciting in the theft of the MacGuffin formula is brilliant. So don't be so down on Torn Curtain, Mr. Hitchcock. It's not perfect, but it's damn entertaining anyway.
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