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Torn Curtain

Torn Curtain

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Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

, starring Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

.

Plot


On a cruise ship en route to Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

), an esteemed American physicist and rocket scientist
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

, is to attend a scientific conference. Once there, he begins acting suspiciously, eventually flying to East Berlin
East Berlin
East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the Soviet sector of Berlin that was established in 1945. The American, British and French sectors became West Berlin, a part strongly associated with West Germany but a free city...

, where he is welcomed by representatives of the East German government. His assistant and fiancée, Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

), follows him there, believing he has defected to the other side. Sherman, however, is extremely uncomfortable with this move, realizing if the apparent defection is in fact real, given the circumstances of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 of the period, she would likely never see her home or family again. They are constantly accompanied by Professor Karl Manfred (Günter Strack
Günter Strack
Günter Strack was a German television actor.He was born in Darmstadt and died in Münchsteinach of heart failure.In 1966 he played the role as Professor Karl Manfred in Hitchcock's thriller Torn Curtain...

), who took part in arranging Armstrong's defection to the East
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

.

It soon becomes apparent to the viewer that Armstrong's defection is in fact a ruse to gain the confidence of the East German scientific establishment, in order to learn just how much their chief scientist Gustav Lindt (Ludwig Donath
Ludwig Donath
Ludwig Donath , was an Austrian actor who appeared in many American films.-Life:Donath graduated from Vienna's Academy of Dramatic Art and became a prominent actor on the stage in Berlin. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he returned to Vienna and was active there in theater and film and until the...

) and by extension, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, knows about anti-missile systems. Armstrong has made preparations to return to the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. These plans are threatened, along with the entire escape network, known as Pi
Pi
' is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter. is approximately equal to 3.14. Many formulae in mathematics, science, and engineering involve , which makes it one of the most important mathematical constants...

, when he is followed to the isolated farm home of his contact by Hermann Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling
Wolfgang Kieling
Wolfgang Kieling was a German actor. In films since childhood in his native Germany, Kieling also occasionally appeared in English-language films, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain , where he played an East German agent brutally slain by Paul Newman...

), an East German security officer assigned to him. Armstrong kills Gromek, who is then buried by the "farmer" (Mort Mills
Mort Mills
Mort Mills was an American film and television actor who had roles in over 200 movies and television episodes. He was often the town lawman or the local bad guy in many popular westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. From 1957-1959 he had a recurring co-starring role as Marshal Frank Tallman in Man...

) and his wife (Carolyn Conwell
Carolyn Conwell
Carolyn Conwell is a Chicago-born American actress who played Mary Williams on The Young and the Restless.She has also appeared in many theatre productions, including Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire. Conwell has three children and currently resides in Los Angeles.Conwell has studied under...

). The taxicab
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

 driver (Peter Lorre Jr.) who drove Armstrong to the farm, however, reports Armstrong's suspicious behavior to the police.

Armstrong visits the physics faculty of Karl Marx University
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

 in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, where his loyalty is suspected because of the missing Gromek. The faculty try to interrogate his fiancée/assistant about her knowledge of the American "Gamma Five" anti-missile program, but she refuses to cooperate and runs from the room. At this point, Armstrong secretly confides to her his actual motives, and asks her to go along with the ruse. He finally goads Professor Lindt into revealing his anti-missile equations in a fit of pique over what Lindt believes are Armstrong's mathematical mistakes. When Lindt hears over the university's loudspeaker system that Armstrong and his fiancée are being sought for questioning, he realizes that he has given up his secrets while learning nothing in return. Armstrong must make a harrowing escape, along with Sherman, with the help of the university clinic physician Dr. Koska (Gisela Fischer).

They travel to East Berlin, pursued by the Stasi
Stasi
The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi (abbreviation , literally State Security), was the official state security service of East Germany. The MfS was headquartered...

, in a bus operated by the Pi escape network, led by Mr. Jacobi (David Opatoshu
David Opatoshu
David Opatoshu was an American film, stage and television actor. He was born as David Opatovsky in New York City, where he was reared and educated. His father was the Yiddish writer, Joseph Opatoshu.-Television:...

). Roadblocks, highway robbery by Soviet army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 deserters, and bunching
Bus bunching
In public transport bus bunching, clumping, or platooning refers to a group of two or more transit vehicles along the same route, such as buses or trains, which are scheduled to be evenly spaced, running in the same location at the same time...

 with the real bus increase the suspense. The escape eventually leads to an alliance with the exiled Polish countess Kuchinska (Lila Kedrova
Lila Kedrova
Lila Kedrova was a Russian-born French actress.-Biography:Kedrova claimed to have been born in 1918, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Her parents were Russian opera singers. Lila Kedrova's brother was Nikolay Kedrov, Jr...

), and a typical Hitchcock set piece
Set piece
Set piece may refer to:* Set piece , an elaborate sequence which sees either a chase, fight, or other action taking place in an original and memorable way...

, an escape through a crowded theater
Shouting fire in a crowded theater
"Shouting fire in a crowded theatre" is a popular metaphor and frequent paraphrasing of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919...

 after being spotted by the lead ballerina (Tamara Toumanova
Tamara Toumanova
Tamara Toumanova was an American ballerina and actress. "Toumanova" was a stage name proposed by Olga Preobrazhenskaya, after her mother’s family name of Tumanishvili.-Personal life:...

), who bears a bit of a grudge. (At the beginning of the movie, she flew to East Berlin on the same airplane as Armstrong, and mistakenly believed the press were there to greet her, rather than Armstrong.) Armstrong and Sherman hide in a crate of props belonging to a traveling Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 troupe. The troupe travels across the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 to Sweden on a freighter. The ballerina makes a mistake in uncovering where Armstrong and Sherman are hiding on the ship, the wrong crates are fired on when already dangling over the pier, and Armstrong and Sherman are able to escape by jumping overboard and swimming to a Swedish dock.

Cast



  • Paul Newman
    Paul Newman
    Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

     as Professor Michael Armstrong
  • Julie Andrews
    Julie Andrews
    Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

     as Sarah Sherman
  • Lila Kedrova
    Lila Kedrova
    Lila Kedrova was a Russian-born French actress.-Biography:Kedrova claimed to have been born in 1918, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Her parents were Russian opera singers. Lila Kedrova's brother was Nikolay Kedrov, Jr...

     as Countess Kuchinska
  • Hansjörg Felmy
    Hansjörg Felmy
    Hansjörg Felmy was a German actor. He appeared in 50 films and television shows between 1957 and 1995. He starred in the film The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi, which was entered into the 11th Berlin International Film Festival...

     as Heinrich Gerhard
  • Tamara Toumanova
    Tamara Toumanova
    Tamara Toumanova was an American ballerina and actress. "Toumanova" was a stage name proposed by Olga Preobrazhenskaya, after her mother’s family name of Tumanishvili.-Personal life:...

     as Ballerina
  • Wolfgang Kieling
    Wolfgang Kieling
    Wolfgang Kieling was a German actor. In films since childhood in his native Germany, Kieling also occasionally appeared in English-language films, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain , where he played an East German agent brutally slain by Paul Newman...

     as Hermann Gromek
  • Ludwig Donath
    Ludwig Donath
    Ludwig Donath , was an Austrian actor who appeared in many American films.-Life:Donath graduated from Vienna's Academy of Dramatic Art and became a prominent actor on the stage in Berlin. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he returned to Vienna and was active there in theater and film and until the...

     as Professor Gustav Lindt
  • Günter Strack
    Günter Strack
    Günter Strack was a German television actor.He was born in Darmstadt and died in Münchsteinach of heart failure.In 1966 he played the role as Professor Karl Manfred in Hitchcock's thriller Torn Curtain...

     as Professor Karl Manfred
  • David Opatoshu
    David Opatoshu
    David Opatoshu was an American film, stage and television actor. He was born as David Opatovsky in New York City, where he was reared and educated. His father was the Yiddish writer, Joseph Opatoshu.-Television:...

     as Mr. Jacobi
  • Gisela Fischer as Dr. Koska
  • Mort Mills
    Mort Mills
    Mort Mills was an American film and television actor who had roles in over 200 movies and television episodes. He was often the town lawman or the local bad guy in many popular westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. From 1957-1959 he had a recurring co-starring role as Marshal Frank Tallman in Man...

     as Farmer
  • Carolyn Conwell
    Carolyn Conwell
    Carolyn Conwell is a Chicago-born American actress who played Mary Williams on The Young and the Restless.She has also appeared in many theatre productions, including Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire. Conwell has three children and currently resides in Los Angeles.Conwell has studied under...

     as Farmer's Wife
  • Arthur Gould-Porter as Freddy, the Bookseller
  • Gloria Gorvin as Fräulein Mann
  • Robert Boon as Professor Winkelmann
  • Peter Bourne as Professor Olaf Hengström
  • Linda Carol as Dancer
  • Rico Cattani as Heinrich, Escape Bus Driver
  • Andrea Darvi as Gretl Koska
  • Maurice Doner as Hugo, Baggage Manager

  • Harold Dyrenforth as Otto Haupt
  • Horst Ebersberg as East German Interpreter
  • Ben Frommer as Sceptical-Looking Airline Passenger
  • Sasha Harden as Border Guard
  • Joe Harris as Ballet Member
  • Mischa Hausserman
    Mischa Hausserman
    Mischa Hausserman is an Austrian-born American film and television actor.Hausserman was born in Vienna, Austria. He had moved to the United States in 1965...

     as Idealistic Young Man
  • Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

     as Man in Hotel Lobby with Baby
  • Erik Holland as Hotel Travel Clerk
  • Nancy Kilgas as Ballet Member
  • Peter Lorre Jr. as Taxi Driver
  • Jan Malmsjö
    Jan Malmsjö
    Jan Wilhelm Malmsjö is a Swedish stage and actor, musical star and singer. He is married to Marie Göranzon and father to Jonas Malmsjö.-Biography:...

     as Swedish Photographer
  • Hedley Mattingly
    Hedley Mattingly
    - Career :Born in London, England. He appeared in many television series and a few movies. Onstage, he starred in Alexander Galt: The Stubborn Idealist , King Rat , The Bermuda Triangle ....

     as Airline Official
  • Norbert Meisel as Factory Manager
  • Frank Oberschall as Airport Security Man
  • Gerd Rein as East German Arresting Officer in Bus Sequence
  • Gene Roth
    Gene Roth
    Gene Roth was an American film actor. Born in Redfield, South Dakota, Roth was born Eugene Oliver Edgar Stutenroth...

     as Guard in Post Office
  • Norbert Schiller as Professor Gutman
  • Lyle Sudrow as Swedish Captain
  • Wilhelm von Homburg
    Wilhelm Von Homburg
    Wilhelm von Homburg was a German wrestler, boxer, and film actor most noted for his portrayal of Vigo the Carpathian in the 1989 film Ghostbusters II.-Wrestling:...

     as Blonde Twin in Bus


Background and production


Initially, Hitchcock wanted to cast Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint is an American actress who has starred in films, on Broadway, and on television in a career spanning seven decades. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama film On the Waterfront , and later starred in the thriller film North by...

, the blonde star of North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

, but the studio forced him to cast Julie Andrews. Hitchcock also spoke in 1965 to Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

 about appearing in the film, only to learn that Grant intended to make just one more film
Walk Don't Run
Walk, Don't Run is a 1966 comedy film set in Tokyo during the Olympic Games in 1964. The movie marked the last appearance by Cary Grant in a feature film, and is a remake of the 1943 film The More the Merrier.-Plot:...

 and then retire.

Torn Curtain was released without any rating on 14 July 1966 (see original 1966 movie poster above). However, the film was given an "M" (for "Mature"—later changed to "PG") under the MPAA film rating system
MPAA film rating system
The Motion Picture Association of America's film-rating system is used in the U.S. and its territories to rate a film's thematic and content suitability for certain audiences. The MPAA system applies only to motion pictures that are submitted for rating. Other media may be rated by other entities...

 that took effect November 1, 1968.

Hitchcock later complained that Universal Pictures executives insisted on famous stars being cast—after The Birds and Marnie both featured his discovery Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren
Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an wildlife habitat which she...

—and that both Andrews and Newman were "recommended" to him rather than being his real choices. However, it was a minor hit for Hitchcock and an honourable effort, though rarely considered a Hitchcock classic. Torn Curtain features a memorable murder scene with Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and Wolfgang Kieling
Wolfgang Kieling
Wolfgang Kieling was a German actor. In films since childhood in his native Germany, Kieling also occasionally appeared in English-language films, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain , where he played an East German agent brutally slain by Paul Newman...

 that Hitchcock made specifically to show the audience how difficult it is to kill a man.

The film's climax in a theatre was filmed in Sound stage 28 at Universal Studios. Sound stage 28 was also used in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera (1925 film)
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel of the same title directed by Rupert Julian. The film featured Lon Chaney in the title role as the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to force...

with Lon Chaney, Sr.
Lon Chaney, Sr.
Lon Chaney , nicknamed "The Man of a Thousand Faces," was an American actor during the age of silent films. He was one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema...

 41 years earlier. The legendary set still stands to this day and is a major tourist attraction.

During production, the film faced some major setbacks, beyond the controversy surrounding its female star. The original script was deemed unsuitable by both Hitchcock and Universal. Keith Waterhouse
Keith Waterhouse
Keith Spencer Waterhouse CBE was a novelist, newspaper columnist, and the writer of many television series.-Biography:Keith Waterhouse was born in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

 and Willis Hall
Willis Hall
Willis Hall was an English playwright and radio and television writer who drew on his working class roots in Leeds for much of his writings....

 had to do extensive re-writes and script doctoring before any filming could be completed, despite their efforts going uncredited.

Music composer Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer noted for his work in motion pictures.An Academy Award-winner , Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo...

 wrote the score before production ended. Hitchcock and Universal, however, asked Herrmann for a more upbeat score, with pop and jazz influences. Biographer Patrick McGilligan wrote that Universal hoped Herrmann might even write a song for Julie Andrews. However, even when Herrmann revised his score, it still was not what Hitchcock or the studio wanted. The two eventually went their separate ways, and Hitchcock hired John Addison
John Addison
John Mervyn Addison was a British composer best known for his film scores.Addison was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and at the age of sixteen entered the Royal College of Music. He studied composition with Gordon Jacob, oboe with Léon Goossens, and clarinet with Frederick Thurston. ...

, who had recently achieved notoriety with his offbeat scoring of the film version of Tom Jones
Tom Jones (film)
Tom Jones is a 1963 British adventure comedy film, an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling , starring Albert Finney as the titular hero. It was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular comedies of its time, winning four Academy Awards...

, to rewrite the music.

Financial problems and several filming location changes also delayed the production.

The working relationship between Hitchcock and Newman was also said to be problematic. Newman came from a different generation of actors from the likes of Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

 and James Stewart
James Stewart (actor)
James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and his everyman persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime...

 and questioned Hitchcock about the script and the characterization throughout filming. Hitchcock later said he found Newman's manner and approach unacceptable and disrespectful. Newman insists that he meant no disrespect towards Hitchcock, and once said "I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way." Newman, who was known as a "Method
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

" actor, consulted Hitchcock about his character's motivations and the director replied that Newman's "motivation is your salary." Furthermore, as Hitchcock discovered, the expected onscreen "chemistry" between Newman and Andrews failed to materialize. McGilligan wrote that Hitchcock shifted his attentions to the colorful international actors who played supporting roles in the film.

Brian Moore's own dissatisfaction with the project can be seen in his novel Fergus (1970
1970 in literature
The year 1970 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:* Deliverance by American poet James Dickey published...

), which features Bernard Boweri, an unsympathetic character based on Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock's cameo is a signature occurrence in most of his films. In Torn Curtain he can be seen (8 minutes into the film) sitting in a hotel lobby holding Julie Andrews' young daughter, Emma Kate. His presence is signaled by a trombone playing the theme of his TV series.

Paul Newman slightly misspells the Danish word for Copenhagen when he answers the radiogram by writing Kobenavn instead of København.

External links