TornCurtainOk, I am finally getting  around to talking a little more about Torn Curtain. While most definitely not one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, this movie still has a lot to offer.

The movie, a classic tale of suspicion and intrigue, is set during the Cold War, with the title referring to the Iron Curtain. It opens with Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman) and his fiancee/assistant Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews) en route by cruise ship to a science conference  in Copenhagen.

Things seem to be going well until Armstrong starts acting suspciously. Sherman finds out he is going to East Berlin suddenly and decides to follow him there. He confronts her on the plane and tells her to go home and forget that she saw him. Sherman is not easily persuaded and insists on staying with him. He agrees with the condition that she stay out of the way and return to Copenhagen as soon as possible.

Things become even more suspicious when Armstrong is welcomed warmly at the East Berlin airport by German government officials. Sherman is convinced that her fiancee has defected to the East Germans.

But it soon becomes clear that Armstrong is only pretending to be loyal to the East in order to gain the confidence of chief scientist Gustav Lindt (Ludwing Donath). Lindt is key in the development of the Soviet’s missile program.

The story takes a tense turn when Armstrong is followed to the home of a fellow contact by a German security officer. Armstrong has to kill the officer and dispose of his body without coming under additional suspician by the police.

This scene is one of Hitchcock’s best; it is said that he wanted to show how difficult it really is to kill another person.

Armstrong is able to gain the trust of Lindt and is given the secret he was after.

But he and Sherman must then make an escape by a false bus that is also trying to get others to safety. They then make it to another contact within a traveling troupe that hides them in trunks on a ship bound for Sweden.

As in many of Hitchcock films, the director makes a cameo; he can be seen as a man holding a small child in the lobby of the hotel.

Hitchcock mixes the right amount of suspense, epionage and romance into this plot. Hopefully this is just the first of many Hitch films I will be able to discuss.

This was a very different turn for Andrews after just portraying Mary Poppins and the singing governess Maria. But I think she a great job in this unusual role.

As usual, Newman is fantastic and I would have liked to see him in an additional Hitch film. Although, Hitchcock himself seemed to prefer his old standbyes such as Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.

I guess I cannot blame him in those cases.

If you like a classic wartime thriller, this movie should definitely should be on your list. Torn-Curtain2

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