CineFile – Farley Granger

Farley Granger, who died a week ago today, was a second level movie star for only a brief period – the late ’40s through the mid ’50s – but any fan of Hollywood’s Golden Age, even that tail end, will inevitably know him for his appearances in two notable Alfred Hitchcock films, Rope and and the more famous Strangers on a Train. His other film career highlights were two classic film noirs, Nicholas Ray‘s first film, They Drive by Night, and Anthony Mann‘s lesser known Sidestreet, and Granger’s own proudest work, Luchino Visconti‘s Senso. Admirably, Granger preferred a lesser-light New York theater career over Hollywood and he lived out his life primarily as a stage actor.

The scene below is the opening, inciting incident of Rope, a classic moment from the classicist of suspense. In it, the extraordinarily handsome Granger actually does the deed, but then plays out in the film what was a common state of mind and being for his otherwise not very often extraordinary characters: distress and befuddlement before circumstance. Late in life, Granger acknowledged publicly what was known to those who knew him, that he was bisexual. He lived most of his life with men. But he did say of the late Shelley Winters that she was “the love of my life and the bane of my existence.” In this film, it is the cool guile of John Dahl that is the bane of his existence. (The music, in this only version of the scene I could find, is not the original, but a new score as part of an exercise.)

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