This was Alfred Hitchcock's fiftieth film and one of his least successful, despite the box-office names of Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Michael Armstrong (Newman) is a top US nuclear physicist who defects to East Germany in order to get a secret formula in the possession of enemy
scientist Gustav Lindt (Donath). Having Newman play a physicist at the peak of his sly but only semi-articulate animal sexiness (HUD, COOL HAND LUKE) is like having Elizabeth Taylor play Golda Meir. Putting Julie Andrews in a Hitchcock film at all, meanwhile, proves that a spoonful of sugar
doesn't help the medicine go down...in the most de-light-ful way. Dull and way too long, TORN CURTAIN is only memorable for one very shocking and brutal scene in which Armstrong and a farmer's wife (played by Carolyn Conwell) have to murder a Soviet soldier. They stab the man, choke him, and
finally gas him in the kitchen stove, graphically showing just how difficult can be to kill a human being.
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