In the shadows of Elizabeth Taylor’s death, Farley Granger died on March 27, at age 85.
Sometimes I think that Farley Granger was forgotten. He wasn’t as dynamic as other 1950s actors like Marlon Brando, and he was pretty awkward compared to suave Cary Grant, but Mr. Granger was one of my passing crushes when I first dove into classic film at the age of 14.
I’m not sure what attracted me to the tall, lanky and usually angry Farley Granger, but he was one of the many random actors (along with John Kerr, Peter McEnery and James Darren) that I had fleeting crushes on.
Granger was also in two of Hitchcock’s most well known films: the odd film adpatation of the play “Rope” and the thrilling “Strangers On A Train.”
I think the first film I ever saw Granger in was “Strangers On A Train” (1951). It’s funny that Granger has been so overlooked when he starred in one of Hitchcock’s most important and best films. “Strangers On A Train” is one of my all time favorite. I was intrigued by several of Hitchcock’s camera angles, particularly the shot through Miriam’s glasses at the fair. It’s hard to find a flaw in “Strangers On A Train” because it is perfect-though I would have preferred another love interest over Ruth Roman.
I next saw Granger in “Hans Christian Andersen” (1952) with Danny Kaye. It’s such a quirky, silly movie but I love it. The etherial song “Wonderful Copenhagen” and the adorable “No Two People” had me enchanted. Granger plays an angry fellow who is mean to Danny Kaye and locks him in a closet! Granger then goes on to play an equally hot tempered man in “Small Town Girl” with Jane Powell. I’m not sure why Granger was always cast as a hot head, but he could play a grouch very well.
A few of my other favorite films of his are “Our Very Own” where Ann Blyth finds out she was adopted, and, one of his first films, the war film “Purple Heart.”
Granger’s film career petered off in the mid-1950s and he acted mainly on television and then made a few films in the 1970s. It’s sad that he entered and exited the film scene so quickly. He only had substantial roles in half of them, while several of his others were small supporting characters.
Regardless of his screen time, I am sad that yet another star has risen. Farewell Farley Granger, you will be missed.
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The main reason Granger is sometimes overlooked when it comes to “Strangers on a Train” is that he was opposite Robert Walker who delivered the performance of his lifetime as the killer. Hard to compete with that…but I think Granger offset Walker beautifully. I have read that Hitchcock already had his eye on Grace Kelly when he made “Strangers” and had wanted her as Granger’s love interest – but the studio forced Ruth Roman on him. I think Granger and Kelly together would’ve been a great pairing.
Thanks for the comment 🙂
That’s a good point. Robert Walker did SUCH a good job playing a lunatic in that movie, which is funny since he played the quintessential cute, lovable guy in movies like “Since You Went Away” and “The Sailor Takes a Wife.”
I also agree that Grace Kelly and Granger would have been perfect together.
I think Granger gets overlooked a lot in general because he was usually a background player. Like in “Our Very Own,” I love Ann Blyth but I kept thinking “When will we see Farley again?”
If you get a chance, read INCLUDE ME OUT. Although I loved the first part of the book, it ultimately was a disappointment for me, but maybe the big disappointment for me is Farley hiimself.
Yes the autobio was a little disappointing but who cares … I’ve had a crush on this guy since I was about 12. He was SO attractive I’d watch him read the telephone directory. Time to watch ‘Strangers’ again.
The first time I saw him was on As The World Turns in the 80s. My grandmother knew who he was! He was still debonair in his later years.
He was my idol for many years,followed his career from the beginning.