A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
Professor Michael Armstrong is heading to Stockholm to attend a physics conference accompanied by his assistant-fiancée Sarah Sherman. Once arrived however, Michael informs her that he may be staying for awhile and she should return home. She follows him and realizes he's actually heading to East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. She follows him there and is shocked when he announces that he's defecting to the East after the US government canceled his research project. In fact, Michael is there to obtain information from a renowned East German scientist. Once the information is obtained, he and Sarah now have to make their way back to the West. Written by
In Norman Lloyd/Steve Smith 1996 Interview, Norman Lloyd revealed that he was there during the break-up of Alfred Hitchcock/Bernard Herrmann partnership. In the interview, Norman Lloyd provided this information on the breakup of Hitchcock/Herrmann partnership - There was great pressure on Hitchcock not to hire Bernard Herrmann. That pressure came from the front office at Universal, most notably from their music department. The reason given was that Bernard Herrmann couldn't write a hit song. Universal was talking about getting Henry Mancini for "Torn Curtain." But Hitchcock decided to go with Herrmann on Torn Curtain. But Hitchcock was determined because of the pressure to lay out very specifically to Herrmann what he wanted in the score. Bernard Herrmann wrote the score after receiving this directives. When Hitchcock listening to the recording of the score, Hitchcock said, in effect, "I don't want to hear another note. This is not what I asked for in the cable. This is a complete violation of my requests." He walked off the stage, had the orchestra dismissed, canceled the next day, and never heard another note of the score. Bernard Herrmann tried to get to see Alfred Hitchcock. But Hitchcock wouldn't see him. He felt that Benny had deliberately ignored his directive." Norman Lloyd also mentioned this to Steven Smith in the interview - "Hitch took the violation as a personal insult, because he had been so careful to lay out his instructions. Then you must also realize that he had hired Benny over the objections of the front office. So the whole situation contributed to Hitch's feeling that Benny had betrayed him." See more »
A few snippets of dialogue in the scenes in the East German university clearly show that the extras are Americans. See more »
Professor Karl Manfred:
Are they ever going to get the heating fixed?
They are working at it, Professor. Perhaps some of you scientists would like to give us a helping hand!
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This hardly ever appears in the lists of the master's best films, but it is a real gem - superbly acted, inventively filmed with great music, dialogue and plot. Julie Andrews and Paul Newman work really well together - a very sexy scene early in the film is a delight, filmed in extreme close-up. And Lila Kedrova's cameo is Oscar worthy. This is also a memorable look at the Cold War at its height, and although the pro-West propaganda is a little thick at times, there is still a sense of the absurdity of the situation. And there is a murder scene of unbelievable savagery that really left me shaken - excellent work here from Newman and Carolyn Conwell. The most memorable scene is the bus pursuit sequence, and the theatre audience turning into an hysterical mob when Newman yells "fire" is a great Hitchcock moment. One of his best cameo appearances too. I think this film deserves re-examination.
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