Sunday 3 April 2011

Farley Granger (1925 - 2011)

A brief entry to note the passing of Farley Granger, probably best known for his performance in Hitchock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951).  Not a brilliant actor but when the material suited him he could be quite impressive.  My favourite Granger film is Visconti's SENSO (1954) - he's great as the amoral manipulator Franz Mahler, whose casual destruction of Alida Valli's heart is breathtaking in its cruelty.  SENSO is a deliriously operatic melodrama that is as good as, but usually overshadowed by, Visconti's later film THE LEOPARD (1963).  I understand it has just been reissued by Criterion, with all the finery that it deserves.

Alida Valli and Farley Granger in Visconti's SENSO
Granger made quite a few genre movies, mainly in Europe, including the decent giallo LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO (1970) which features a wonderful score by Stelvio Cipriani.  I also remember him being mentioned in Michael Weldon's reference book "The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film" as the first mainstream actor to appear in a hardcore porn movie.  That's only partly true because he actually appeared in a giallo called SO SWEET, SO DEAD (1972) which was re-edited in the USA to include some entirely unrelated hardcore scenes - so it's a bit like saying John Gielgud appeared in a porn movie because he was in CALIGULA (1979).  So, rest your sphincters, the good name of Farley Granger remains intact.

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