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Torn Curtain (14-Jul-1966)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Brian Moore

Music by: John Addison

Keywords: Thriller, Cold War, Espionage, Secret Formula

Atomic physicist Michael Armstrong pretends to defect to East Germany, in order to find the secret formula of a resin used by an anti-missile system. His fiancée Sarah follows him, unaware if his defection is genuine or not; she refuses to leave when asked and Armstrong must involve her in his scheming. Lesser Hitchcock effort, produced during a spate of Cold War espionage thrillers. Composer Bernard Hermann was dismissed, and a hasty and sometimes inappropriate score by John Addison used in its place.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Julie Andrews
1-Oct-1935   Mary Poppins
Lila Kedrova
9-Oct-1918 16-Feb-2000 Zorba the Greek
Paul Newman
26-Jan-1925 26-Sep-2008 Salad dressing magnate
David Opatoshu
30-Jan-1918 30-Apr-1996 Raid on Entebbe


Paul Newman   ...   Prof. Michael Armstrong
Julie Andrews   ...   Sarah Sherman
Lila Kedrova   ...   Countess Kuchinska
Hansjoerg Felmy   ...   Heinrich Gerhard
Tamara Toumanova   ...   Ballerina
Wolfgang Kieling   ...   Hermann Gromek
Ludwig Donath   ...   Prof. Gustav Lindt
Günter Strack   ...   Prof. Karl Manfred
David Opatoshu   ...   Mr. Jacobi
Gisela Fischer   ...   Dr. Koska
Mort Mills   ...   Farmer
Carolyn Conwell   ...   Farmer's Wife
Arthur Gould-Porter   ...   Bookseller
Gloria Gorvin   ...   Fräulein Mann


Review by anonymous (posted on 30-Jan-2007)

Definitely one of Alfred Hitchcock's more underrated films, probably because of the suspect casting of Paul Newman as a physics professor and Julie Andrews as his rather one-dimensional assistant-scientist fiancee. (In my view, both gave creditable performances.) But this film shines magnificent in two areas: Hitchcock's use of suspense (quiet, relentless murder in a farmhouse; bad guys creeping ever closer in a crowd; professor at a chalk board oblivious to ... well, I won't give it away), and stellar character acting by Wolfgang Kieling (KGB agent Gromek), Ludwig Donath (Professor Lindt), and Carolyn Conwell (farmer's wife). But among these outstanding performances, who stole the show? Lila Kedrova in a cameo as the eccentric Countess Kuchinska. Thirty years after I saw this film at a theater, I had to track it down on and buy it on VHS just to watch her performance again. During the cafe sequence, Newman has a reaction shot in which it is just as likely that HE is expressing awe at Kedrova's performance as his character is registering amazement at the Countess's eccentricities. After writing this, I just gotta go home and watch it again. -JHC

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