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The odd couple

The greatest director/composer partnership in Hollywood history fell apart

By Neil Sinyard   October 1999

In march 1966, at the Goldwyn studios in Los Angeles, there occurred one of the most famous recording sessions in Hollywood history. On the podium was the celebrated composer-conductor Bernard Herrmann, leading the orchestra through his score for Alfred Hitchcock’s new film, Torn Curtain, the ninth consecutive film on which Herrmann had worked with Hitchcock. The session was going well. Herrmann’s elaborate titles music had even drawn spontaneous applause from the hardened studio musicians. Enter Hitchcock, quickly making it known that he did not like what he heard. Harsh words were exchanged and, within minutes, a partnership which had prospered…

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