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.
According to the book "It's Only a Movie", Hitchcock said: "THERE WAS AN ENDING written which wasn't used, but I rather liked it. No one agreed with me except my colleague at home [his wife Alma Reville]. Everyone told me that you couldn't have a letdown ending after all that. Paul Newman would have thrown the formula away. After what he has gone through, after everything we have endured with him, he just tosses it. It speaks to the futility of all, and it's in keeping with the kind of naivete of the character, who is no professional spy and who will certainly retire from that nefarious business."
According to the book "It's Only a Movie", Brian Moore was chosen to write the screenplay, but shooting began before Hitchcock was satisfied with the script, dictated by the limited availability of Julie Andrews.
Hitchcock wanted to cast Eva Marie Saint, whom he had previously directed in North by Northwest (1959). However, the studio felt that, at 42, Saint was too old to play the female lead. They instead cast the younger and more popular Julie Andrews.
According to the book "Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock", Hitchcock was unsatisfied with Brian Moore's Screenplay. So Hitchcock brought in Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall to do a rewrite job on it. Their contribution to the Screenplay was considerable enough for Hitchcock to feel strongly that they should receive screen credit. But Brian Moore disputed this, and an adjudication by the Screenwriters Guild gave him sole credit, to Hitchcock's irritation.
The opening credits lists the most comprehensive cast - all 14 members; the end credits lists only 12 of those members with character names. IMDb policy, therefore, requires the opening cast list to be used.
One of the reasons Alfred Hitchcock did not want to use Paul Newman and Julie Andrews was their very high fees.For the rest of his career Hitchcock would never hire performers with the same sort of fee or above.
The Scenes with Gromek's older brother was originally part of the final cut. Wolfgang Kieling (Gromek in this film) wrote in his autobiography that it was Paul Newman who wanted Gromek's older brother scenes to be removed from the final cut. Wolfgang Kieling also played Gromek's older brother. Bernard Herrmann composed 2 cues for Gromek's brother scenes. They are called "Photos" and "Sausage."
According to Truffaut/Hitchcock Interview, Alfred Hitchcock told Truffaut that he is giving "Gromek's brother" scenes to Truffaut. Truffaut told Hitchcock that he will look at these scenes and then turn them over to Henri Langlois for the Cinematheque Francaise. But it has yet to be found and is generally considered to be lost.
Bernard Herrmann was able to record 9 cues for this film before Hitchcock fired him. Unfortunately, only 3 cues from original recording have been released on disc. Those 3 cues are Prelude, The Ship, and Radiogram.
In the documentary "Plotting Family Plot", Actor Bruce Dern (who worked with Alfred Hitchcock in Marnie and Family Plot) revealed that Hitchcock was very upset that he had to pay Julie Andrews and Paul Newman $750,000 apiece to do Torn Curtain.
Donald Spoto wrote that Hitchcock hid behind the door when Bernard Herrmann went to see him after Torn Curtain (1966) break up. Herrmann's third wife Norma denied this in an interview with Gunther Kogebehn in June 2006. In June 2006 interview with Kogebehn, Norma Herrmann states that she and Bernard Herrmann "together" visited Alfred Hitchcock.
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."
In Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview, Alfred Hitchcock revealed that he was dissatisfied with the performance of Paul Newman as Professor Armstrong. But Hitchcock mentioned to Truffaut that the performance of Wolfgang Kieling as Gromek was very good.
The Swedish actor Jan Malmsjö (who had a small uncredited role as photographer in the final scenes in Helsingborg harbour and customs) found that a lot of signs were not written in correct Swedish so he helped the film crew to correct them.
early in the film sitting in a hotel lobby with a baby on his knee. He transfers the baby to his other knee, and then rubs his knee, as if disdainfully looking at something the baby has done to it.
A scene showing actor Wolfgang Kieling, who played Gromek, also playing Gromek's brother was cut. In it he shows Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman), who has just killed Gromek, a picture of Gromek's three children. It was believed that this would have shifted the audience's sympathy away from Newman to the dead man. Unfortunately, a close-up of the brother cutting a sausage with a knife similar to the one used in the murder, a characteristically Hitchcockian shot, was also lost.
Bernard Herrmann' did compose a cue called "Back Door" for the scene where Professor Armstrong (Paul Newman) unexpectedly sees Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling) at the farm. But this cue wasn't recorded by Elmer Bernstein or Joel McNeely in their recordings of Herrmann's score for this film. Although McNeely and Bernstein end their recordings at Herrmann's cue "The Bus", still it is uncertain if Herrmann did compose the cues for the rest of this film or not.