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PAUL NEWMAN DEFECTS ALFRED HITCHOCK'S 'TORN CURTAIN'

Paul Newman battling Wolfgang Kieling Year: 1966 Rating: ***
Alfred Hitchcock's Cold War Thriller TORN CURTAIN brings back the auteur's use of teaming-up a man and woman for the best use of retaliation, which includes leading man Paul Newman but not his dutiful wife Julie Andrews: instead the she is Carolyn Conwell as Farmer's Wife, who not only has more importance than her tractor-driving husband, Mort Mills, spouting exposition to Newman's American scientist, pretending to defect within Russia to get secret plans to take back Stateside... 

But the good strong Russian woman helps Newman's Professor Michael Armstrong kill a seemingly impenetrable, solidly built Soviet henchman named Gromek, played by Wolfgang Kieling who, once he's out of the picture, it's all pretty much downhill, leaving the handsome, reluctant hero to deal with the film's weakest link: And in that, Julie Andrews basically stands around staring pale-eyed, hoping her husband isn't really doing what he's really not doing while she obstructs the overall suspense from its cinematic Master, only half-successfully covering new ground here (TOPAZ is a slight improvement).

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