The murder of Gromek
Theme and variations
in Partners in suspense
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This chapter assesses the partnership’s working relationship by addressing their ninth film project together, Torn Curtain, for which Hitchcock rejected Herrmann’s score, dramatically bringing forth the end of their successful period of collaboration, giving background to the artistic conflict over Torn Curtain that resulted in the feud between Hitchcock and Herrmann, and ultimately saw the film rescored by John Addison. It discusses the effect this change had upon the film by drawing particular attention to what is perhaps the most famous scene, the murder of Gromek. Discussion addresses three different versions of the same scene; the final film version, in which there is no musical score, and Herrmann and Addison’s musical interpretations of this scene which were both rejected by Hitchcock. Drawing direct comparison between these three ways of viewing Gromek’s death, enables an analysis between the appropriateness of Herrmann and Addison’s music for Hitchcock’s filmmaking, and the ultimate effect created by the final scoreless version of the scene. By examining the discarded musical artefacts of Hitchcock’s relationship with Herrmann, we are able to reach a more thorough understanding of their working partnership, and the ways in which Herrmann could truly affect the reception of a Hitchcock film.

Partners in suspense

Critical essays on Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock


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