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Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain" 2006 Universal release

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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   docdoowop


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Posted October 21 2006 - 05:56 AM

Not one of the Master's best efforts, as even Hitchcock would (and did) admit. The new Universal DVD features a few Bernard Herrmann-scored scenes as bonus material and it's far better than the John Addison music used, IMO. Why the falling out between Hitch & Herrmann?

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 21 2006 - 06:17 AM

from the IMDB:

"Bernard Herrmann wrote the original score, but Universal Pictures executives convinced Hitchcock that they needed a more upbeat score. Hitchcock and Herrmann had a major disagreement, the score was dropped and they never worked together again."

Hitchcock also parted ways with Robert Burks (cinematographer), George Tomasini (editor), Robert Boyle (production designer), and Hilton A. Green (unit manager).

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted October 21 2006 - 07:38 AM

Herrmann's unused score is available on cd from Amazon. TORN CURTAIN was Hitchcock's 50th film, and Hitchcock and Universal were hellbent on making it as commercial as possible in casting (Newman, Andrews) and musical scoring (Addison was very hot after TOM JONES).
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#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 21 2006 - 09:42 AM

TORN CURTAIN is frequently denegrated, but to be honest, among his last films, I prefer it to MARNIE, TOPAZ, and FAMILY PLOT, the first and last often cited as good films. (Few people ever put up much of a defense for TOPAZ.)

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   seanOhara


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Posted October 21 2006 - 12:26 PM

Torn Curtain is a flawed film, let's put it that way. There's some good stuff, including one of the best murder scenes Hitch ever did, but it suffers because

the most interesting character in the film, the villainous Stasi agent Gromek, dies halfway through and none of the other bad guys are half as compelling as he was.

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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted October 21 2006 - 05:52 PM

Jack Sullivan's forthcoming HITCHCOCK'S MUSIC (Yale University Press) is an outstanding book on the subject, a must for anyone interested in Hitch, Herrmann, and the other composers he worked with on all of the films.

#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden



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Posted October 23 2006 - 02:55 AM

Wasn't one of the key points of disagreement between Hitchcock and Herrmann the score for the famous protracted murder scene at the center of the movie? I think it plays very effectively with no underscore, although I am only lukewarm on Addison's score for the rest of the film. I think this film is a wee bit underrated. Some of the stuff that made it seem dated when it was new, such as the overreliance on process shots, plays no worse than his vintage films that did the same thing when it was di rigueur in Hollywood a few years previously. It's certainly a lot better than "Topaz", which is his one late-period picture that I just can't get into.

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#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Harry-N



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Posted May 22 2008 - 11:36 AM

As I continue my process of slowly savoring the Alfred Hitchcock film canon, the other day I sat down to watch TORN CURTAIN for the very first time. I've had it as part of the Masterpiece Collection for a couple of years and thought I'd give it a go. I knew very little about the movie, other than the usual descriptions of "a cold-war thriller" and "not one of Hitchcock's best."

I was actually quite impressed with the film. It's got so many fine Hitchcock touches, yet I can see where many don't rank it as high as say VERTIGO or NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

For me, aiding in the enjoyment, was the use of story locations that I've been to: Copenhagen, Berlin, Leipzig, Stockholm, even though much of the actual film wasn't shot in those locations. It still helps when you have a geographical idea of where something is supposedly taking place.

I wasn't sure how I'd like the Addison score - I'd gotten quite used to Herrmann's work on prior pictures, but it wasn't actually so bad. The DVD I watched is the one in the Masterpiece Collection from a few years ago. As one of the extras on the disc, there's a section where they added Herrmann's unused score with the dialog and effects tracks to give a sense of how the film would be with the Herrmann score. It too was quite good, and gave more of a sense that this was a Hitchcock film - but it also seemed a bit derivative at times, sounding like snippets of PSYCHO or MARNIE to me.

Another interesting feature for me was the use of authentic language in the foreign countries. Hearing others speaking in German of which I know a little bit made the film seem all the more real.

As a "cold war thriller" it's obviously a product of its time, but having lived through that era, I can appreciate it for what it was.

The DVD picture had a bit of a "star-filter" quality to it. I don't know if that was intentional or a flaw in the disc.

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#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Richard--W



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Posted May 22 2008 - 12:41 PM

I'm quite fond of TORN CURTAIN. I don't agree with any of the criticism leveled against it. It shows Hitchcock in fine form, and it's entertaining. True it isn't like this film and it isn't like that film, but so what, it's not supposed to be. It succeeds admirably well on its own terms.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Ockeghem


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Posted May 22 2008 - 02:43 PM

Originally Posted by Bob Cashill
Jack Sullivan's forthcoming HITCHCOCK'S MUSIC (Yale University Press) is an outstanding book on the subject, a must for anyone interested in Hitch, Herrmann, and the other composers he worked with on all of the films.

Thanks for the recommendation. I studied some of Herrmann's scores in graduate school (esp. for the Truffaut film), and I've been a fan of Hitchcock films since 1970.