Torn Curtain appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a mediocre presentation.
Sharpness seemed erratic, and not just because Hitchcock used his standard “glamour photography” on Julie Andrews. Some shots seemed pretty well-defined, but others looked somewhat soft and tentative. Overall delineation was adequate and not better than that.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, but light edge haloes cropped up at times. Source flaws were a sporadic distraction, as I witnessed occasional small specks.
Colors tended to be bland. The movie went with a brownish feel, and the Blu-ray didn’t do much to add to the tones, though reds could seem pretty good.
Blacks were reasonably deep and tight, at least, and shadows were decent. This wasn’t a terrible image and it occasionally came to life, but in general, it seemed blah.
At least the DTS-HD monaural soundtrack of Torn Curtain has held up pretty well over the years. Music showed pretty good life given the movie’s age, so the score was fairly bright and full.
Effects seemed accurate and distinctive, and speech was generally natural and warm, though a little edginess occasionally crept into the proceedings. Some lines also were awkwardly looped. Nonetheless, I liked what I heard most of the time and thought the audio served a “B-“.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the prior 2005 DVD? Audio seemed a little warmer and fuller, though the nature of the 53-year-old source limited improvements.
As for visuals, the Blu-ray looked clearer and better defined. Even though the Blu-ray remained mediocre, it acted as a step up over the fairly awful DVD.
The Blu-ray replicates almost all of the extras from the DVD, and we begin with a documentary called Torn Curtain Rising. The 32-minute, 25-second program provides movie clips and archival pieces accompanied by narration.
Unlike almost all the other Hitchcock documentaries, this one lacks any interviews. The program looks at the project’s inspirations and its script, cast and performances, the opening credits sequence, some cinematic storytelling techniques, sets and locations, themes, score, deleted scenes, and a few other production elements.
The absence of any interview subjects puzzles and disappoints, especially since I’d think quite a few participants remained among the living when this show was created. Nonetheless, the narration from Trev Broudy works quite well.
Broudy digs into different aspects of the movie in an enlightening manner that provides good insight. It’s more like a commentary than a documentary, but it remains informative.
Next comes a piece entitled Scenes Scored By Bernard Herrmann. This 14-minute, 38-second segment features music Herrmann wrote for Curtain but unused by Hitchcock.
We can see a few scenes as they would’ve worked had the film kept Herrmann’s score. That makes it an interesting alternate viewpoint.
In addition to the flick’s trailer, we get a collection of Production Photographs. The disc includes 133 of these, and they mix behind the scenes stills, ads, and publicity shots. As always, a lot of good images appear.
A younger Alfred Hitchcock might not have been able to knock a flawed tale like Torn Curtain out of the park, but I’m sure he could’ve done something with it. Unfortunately, the aging Hitch failed to bring anything special to this dull, plodding flick. The Blu-ray offers bland visuals along with relatively good audio and some informative supplements. Leave the forgettable Torn Curtain to the Hitchcock completists.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of TORN CURTAIN