Torn Curtain Vhs CoverTorn Curtain Vhs CoverTorn Curtain Vhs Cover
Cover Title
Torn Curtain
Year of Release
Cat # / Distributor
Format Details
Running Time
Original Title / Year
Torn Curtain (1966)
Submitted By
Videonut324 on 05/18/2014
IMDb Page

Add to List0 Users Want This

Notes / Links

It tears you apart with suspense!

A double agent has to contend with enemies on both sides of the political fence as well as the woman he loves in this thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Prof. Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman) is an gifted American physicist who, at the height of the Cold War, decides to defect to East Germany. To his surprise, his fiancée, fellow scientist Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews) follows him, and she soon discovers Armstrong is no traitor, but acting as a secret undercover agent. As Armstrong attempts to ingratiate himself with political and scientific factions in East Germany, Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling) becomes his guide, though Armstrong is aware he's a government agent assigned to trail him, and as he tries to shake Gromek, Armstrong realizes his new "friend" knows what his real agenda happens to be. Torn Curtain was one of the rare Hitchcock films from his "classic" era which did not feature a score by Bernard Herrman; due to objections from his studio, Hitchcock removed Herrman from the project, though excerpts from the score he had begun were included as a bonus on the film's DVD release in 2002.

Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Written by Brian Moore, the film is about an American scientist who pretends to defect to East Germany as part of a clandestine mission to obtain the solution of a formula resin and escape back to the United States.

Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman), an esteemed American physicist and rocket scientist, is to attend a scientific conference in Copenhagen. He takes a cruise ship to Copenhagen along with his assistant and fiancée, Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews). Armstrong tells Sherman that he did not want her to come along, and en route to Copenhagen, he receives a radiogram to pick up a book once in Copenhagen. The book, allegedly a first-edition of one of Armstrong's book, actually contains a message that says, "Contact π in case [of emergency.]" He tells Sherman he is going to Stockholm, but she discovers he is flying to East Berlin, and she follows him there. When they land, he is welcomed by representatives of the East German government, and Sherman realizes that Armstrong 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 of the period, she would likely never see her home or family again. They are constantly accompanied by Professor Karl Manfred (Günter Strack), who took part in arranging Armstrong's defection to the East.

Armstrong visits a contact, a 'farmer' (Mort Mills), where it is revealed that his 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) and by extension, the Soviet Union, knows about anti-missile systems. While Armstrong does not inform the U.S. government of his plan, he has made preparations to return to the West via an escape network, known as π. However, Armstrong is followed to this farm by his official body man, Hermann Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling), an East German security officer assigned to him. Gromek realizes what π is and that Armstrong is a double agent, and as Gromek is calling the police to report his suspicions, a tortuous fight scene commences that ends with Gromek being killed. So as to not arouse the suspicion of the taxi driver who brought Armstrong to the farm, a gun is not used to kill Gromek, but instead he is choked, stabbed, hit with a shovel, and, ultimately, gassed to death by Armstrong and the farmer's wife (Carolyn Conwell). Gromek and his motorcycle are then buried by the 'farmer' and his wife. The taxicab driver (Peter Lorre Jr., uncredited) who drove Armstrong to the farm, however, reports on Armstrong's behavior to the police when he sees Gromek's missing person ad in the newspaper.

Armstrong visits the physics faculty of Karl Marx University in Leipzig, where his interview with the scientists is abruptly ended when he is questioned by security officials about the missing Gromek. The faculty try to interrogate Sherman about her knowledge of the American "Gamma Five" anti-missile program, but she refuses to cooperate and runs from the room even though she had agreed to cooperate and defect to East Germany. 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 Sherman are being sought for questioning, he realizes that he has given up his secrets while learning nothing in return. Armstrong and Sherman escape from the school with the help of the university clinic physician Dr. Koska (Gisela Fischer).

They travel to East Berlin, pursued by the Stasi, in a decoy bus operated by the π escape network, led by Mr. Jacobi (David Opatoshu). Roadblocks, highway robbery by Soviet Army deserters, and bunching with the "real" bus result in the police becoming aware of the decoy bus and everyone fleeing. While looking for the Friedrichstraße post office, the two encounter the exiled Polish countess Kuchinska (Lila Kedrova) who leads them to the post office in hopes of being sponsored for an American visa. The police find Armstrong and Sherman at the post office, and Kuchinska throws herself in front of the police so they can go to their next destination, a travel agency.

When Armstrong and Sherman arrive at the travel agency, however, the police were performing a raid. Two men from the travel agency walk up to them on the sidewalk and give them tickets to the ballet, with the plan being to travel with the troupe to Sweden later that night. While they attending the ballet and waiting for the pick-up, the are reported to the police because they were spotted by the lead ballerina (Tamara Toumanova), who bears a bit of a grudge: 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 escape through a crowded theater by shouting fire, and after Armstrong and Sherman hide in a crate of props belonging to a traveling Czech troupe, they cross the Baltic Sea 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 (thus, Swedish crane operators technically have control over the property once it was off an East German boat), and Armstrong and Sherman are able to escape by jumping overboard and swimming to a Swedish dock.

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 that took effect November 1, 1968.

The film earned $7 million in North American rentals in 1966.[

Release Date: July 14, 19666 by Universal