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Torn Curtain (1966)

Torn Curtain (1966)

aka Torn Curtain

"It tears you apart with suspense!"

Directed By: 
Details: 128 mins · English, Deutsch, svenska, Norsk · PG (USA)


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No_movie_poster Freddy - the Bookseller
Small Sarah Louise Sherman
Small Countess Kuchinska
No_movie_poster Heinrich Gerhard
No_movie_poster Ballerina
No_movie_poster Hermann Gromek
Small Professor Gustav Lindt
No_movie_poster Dr. Koska
Small Professor Karl Manfred
No_movie_poster Farmer
No_movie_poster Farmer's Wife
Small Man in Hotel Lobby with Baby
Small Professor Michael Armstrong
No_movie_poster Heinrich Gerhard
No_movie_poster Mr. Jacobi


Small Alfred Hitchcock Director
No_movie_poster John Addison Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Brian Moore Novel
No_movie_poster John F. Warren Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Bud Hoffman Editor
Small Alfred Hitchcock Production
No_movie_poster Willis Hall Writer
No_movie_poster Keith Waterhouse Writer
No_movie_poster Bud Hoffman Editing


"It tears you apart with suspense!"


On a cruise ship en route to Copenhagen, Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman), an esteemed American physicist and rocket scientist, is to attend a scientific conference. Once there, he begins acting suspiciously, eventually flying to East Berlin, where he is welcomed by representatives of the East German government. His assistant and fiancée, Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews), 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 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.

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) and by extension, the Soviet Union, knows about anti-missile systems. Armstrong has made preparations to return to the West. These plans are threatened, along with the entire escape network, known as Pi, when he is followed to the isolated farm home of his contact by Hermann Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling), an East German security officer assigned to him. Armstrong kills Gromek, who is then buried by the 'farmer' (Mort Mills) and his wife (Carolyn Conwell). The taxicab driver (Peter Lorre Jr., uncredited) who drove Armstrong to the farm, however, reports Armstrong's suspicious behavior to the police.

Armstrong visits the physics faculty of Karl Marx University in Leipzig, 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, in a bus operated by the Pi escape network, led by Mr. Jacobi (David Opatoshu). Roadblocks, highway robbery by Soviet Army deserters, and bunching with the real bus increase the suspense. The escape eventually leads to an alliance with the exiled Polish countess Kuchinska (Lila Kedrova), and a typical Hitchcock setpiece, an escape through a crowded theater after being spotted by the lead ballerina (Tamara Toumanova), 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 troupe. The troupe travels across 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, and Armstrong and Sherman are able to escape by jumping overboard and swimming to a Swedish dock.

Release Dates:

Video : 1999-11-18 : Germany

Theatrical : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 1966-07-14 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1966-07-27 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1966-09-26 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1966-10-01 : Japan

Theatrical : 1966-10-07 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1966-11-16 : France

Theatrical : 1966-12-16 : Finland

Theatrical : 1966-12-23 : Spain

Theatrical : 1967-02-20 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1967-11-07 : Portugal

Theatrical : Turkey

Television : 1971-07-14 : West Germany

DVD : 2006-02-07

DVD : 2001-03-06

2012-06-24 : Russia