And thus begins one of the longest murder scenes ever put on film. We have the thug guard Gromek on the left, who just got beaned by the farmer's wife's cooking, and we have Paul Newman and said wife on the right, who'll do anything they can (except make sound, which would alert the guard standing outside) to kill him. Hit the jump to see the whole thing. (If I promise you shirtless Paul Newman, will that better entice you on in?)
Torn Curtain (1966)
This series (besides reveling in violence, natch) really is about trying to break down these sequences that tickle my fancy to a purely visual language as best as I can - to post a series of shots that get across the idea of what's happening, free of context - gifs have given me the ability to include some movement, but mostly I just want to lay it all out like a picture-book, a story-board.
Alfred Hitchcock makes it so damned easy every single time. Even with a scene that drags on and on like this - purposefully of course; it's all about underlining and circling just how hard it would be to actually murder someone - that I have to cap the hell out of, the shots he chooses are always succinct and clear and perfectly put together, so's all I have to do is show you what he showed. Thanks, Hitch!
All that said there are only two things I remember from Torn Curtain, which doesn't rank among his best work - the above scene, truly great, and this:
So it's not that shabby, I suppose.
The character of the Farmer's Wife is played by an actress named Carolyn Conwell, and this was actually her first job - doesn't she remind you terribly of Liv Ullman?
Torn Curtain and Persona, which would have been Liv's first big International success I think, both came out in the same year so I doubt that Hitch was riffing on the Swedish actress, but it's fun to think of him cackling with glee over making Bergman's muse a murderess, anyway.
Previous Ways Not To Die: Iced Princess -- Straight Razor Symphony -- Prey For Mantis -- Talos Unplugged -- A Mysterious Raptoring -- Mad Monkey Robo Rampage -- Give Me Liberty, Or... -- Horns of Plenty... Dead! -- Mistress-And-Run -- Wolverine Interrupted -- Who Let The Guts Out -- Zzzapped Innards-Side-Out -- Bad Romance -- Twas Beauty (And Also Aeroplanes) -- Bad Head -- Valentine's Day Massacred -- Belly Buster -- For Being Not The Babysitter -- Splat In Slo-Mo -- To Be Dis-Continued -- For Being Mouthy -- Do You Smell What Billy's Mom Is Cooking -- The Milk Done Gone Bad -- An Inability To Stop Drop and Roll -- Bug Sprayed -- Extreme Makeover: Leatherface Edition -- Window Seat Suck -- Razor Bunting -- Stabbed Thru The Heart And Witches Are To Blame -- Shark Kibble -- Is That a Straight Razor In Your Trunks Or Are You Just Happy To See Me -- Bad Dates -- Fry Guy'd -- Super Battle Bystander Shrapnel Shred -- Staring Contest of the Dead -- Satanic Self Sacrifice -- Fist and Fortune -- Psychedelic Penis Slice To Window Toss -- For Crimes Against Accent -- Sacked -- Speed Bumped For Traffic Spikes -- Shark Versus Jet-Ski -- Hot Oil Treatment -- Tucked In By Jason -- Just A Pair of Snowbodies -- Poison Pellet Kibble Swap -- Dolly Disassembled -- Fire Escape Fall Out -- Unbuggered -- Tell 'Em Large Marge Sent'cha -- Blue Man Gooped -- Tongue Stung -- Now Wouldn't Cha, Barracuda? -- Leaving on a Rat Plane -- Panthers! -- Fashion Faux-Pwned -- "It's Just A Box." -- Blasted Pigeons -- Taunting Ahnuld -- The Too Hot Tub -- Beyond the Veil -- Sunken Prayers-- Super Crack -- Brains Blown -- Fur For The Boogens -- White Hot Bunny Rabbit Rage --Dragged To Hell -- The TV Van That Dripped Blood -- Don't Mess With Mama -- Heads Ahoy --Martyred For Sheep -- Heads Nor Tails -- He Loves Me Knot -- The Great Bouncing Brad --Miss Kitty's 8 Mishaps -- Boat Smoosh -- Meeting the French-Tipped Menace -- A Magic Trick -- Slick Suck -- We Who Walk Here Walk Alone -- Raptor Bait -- Kneegasm'd -- Dare to Dream in Fincher -- Reach Out and Throttle Someone -- De-Faced -- Voluntary Drowning -- Cross Borne -- Pulled Up Hell's Sphincter -- An Arrow Up The Ass - The Numerous Violent Unbecomings of Olive Oyl -- Ack! Ack! Zap! -- Baby's First Acid Splash -- Chop, Drop and Sashimi Roll -- Forever Rafter -- Can't You Hear Me Now? -- Daisies Ways #5 - Harpoony Side Up -- Acid Dip -- On a Wing and a Prey -- For Standing in the Way of Sappho -- Busting Rule Number Three (For The Purpose of Number Two) -- Daisies #4 - Window Dressed To Killed --Hands Off the Haas Orb -- Bullet Ballet -- A Single Vacancy at the Roach Motel -- A School Bus Slipped Thru The Ice -- Trache-AAHHHH!!!-tomy'd - For Mel Gibson's Sins -- A Wide Stanced Slashing --- Daisies Ways #3 - Scratch n' Snuffed -- The Victim of a Viscous Hit & Run-- Curled -- Kabobbed -- Daisies Ways #2 - Aggravated Cementia -- Boo! Nun! -- 2009's Ways Not To Die -- Bug Scratch Fever -- Daisies Ways #1 - Deep Fat Fried in My Own Unique Blend of 500 Herbs & Spices -- By the Yard End of the Stick -- Screwed From A Very Great Distance-- A Righteous Bear-Jew Beatdown -- Fisted By Hugo Sitglitz -- Xeno Morphed -- Fuck-Stuck -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 4 -- Lava Bombed -- The Cradle Will Rock... Your Face Off!!! -- The Food of the Nilbog Goblins -- The Slugs Is Gonna Gitcha -- Phone Shark -- Hide The Carrot -- Sarlacc Snacked -- Avada Kedavra!!! -- Hooked, Lined and Sinkered -- "The Libyans!" -- Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry --Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 --Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye --Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away --Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door-- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue-- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!!-- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded --Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare --Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head
I thought that WAS Liv Ullman during the entire scroll-through until I got to your note at the end - wow!
Movie is fully of doppelgangers! I also thought the poor "victim" was Philip Baker Hall -- the ultimate "that guy" who played Detective Bookman in the Library ep of Seinfeld -- it was not him, though.
Carolyn Conwell died very recently. Fans of the CBS soap "Young & The Restless" will remember her for her long-running role as the meddling mom of perennial hero Paul Williams.
Interesting that at one point Hitchcock pursued Liv Ullman to star opposite Sean Connery in a spy thriller called "The Short Night."
Thank you for this beautiful sequence of stills. This scene lifted an unfortunately mediocre film into the greatness of several of Hitchcock's films of that era.
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