Unfortunately, it's largely the tension between Newman's modernism and Hitchcock's classicism that drives the film, otherwise an uneven and underwhelming entry in the director's oeuvre. Hitchcock feels completely unmoved by the film's central relationship, and his lack of conviction sidelines Julie Andrews and fails to provide the motivation needed to drive its thriller elements.
The justly famous farmhouse scene is one of Hitchcock's greatest accomplishments, and the rest of the film just can't come near that level of tension. There are moments of real skill, to be sure, but the really laughably bad rear projections and those appalling painted backdrops are just indefensible.
Far from his best, but it still shows how good Hitchcock is. The first is a scene with an oven which is still gruesome and nerve wracking today. The other is a clearly intentional anti-climax, which is still tense, involving a bus. Only an Englishman like Hitchcock would make some thing as rudimentary like a bus into a vessel of danger in an absurd way.
As we are accustomed to always expect the best from Alfred Hitchcock, Torn Curtain may disappoint some viewers, It's also true that there is something that doesn't work in the film : the Julie Andrews - Paul Newman alchemy ? Or maybe simply because our heroes are not really in danger. Honestly, I dont know. I just accept the fact that it's not a masterpiece and focus on the great scenes of the film. Recommended.
[Cinémathèque PT #59: 35 mm] This film is proof the 'worst ' Hitch films are still better than 99% of today's mainstream. He's the reason why the word genius was created. The color on this film alone is deserving of a masters thesis.
It's much derided but it is one of my favorites. I love the scene between Newman and the mathematician as well as the scene in the theater and the bus chase. Funny, romantic and thrilling. All that I expect and want from Hitch.