Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Strangers on a Train: RIP Farley Granger

Farley Granger (1925-2011)
Sixty years ago, Farley Granger blessed us with what is probably his most famous and memorable role, that of the innocent stranger to Robert Walker's psychotic stranger who met each other on a train in Alfred Hitchcock's 1951 thriller   aptly titled   Strangers on a Train.  Though one must admit, Walker walks away with the film, Granger nevertheless mastered the stoic hero role with grace and precision.  It's the sort of invisible role which Christian Bale praised Mark Walhberg for doing in The Fighter, and that Bale himself has done numerous times.  In Hollywood, unfortunately, such strong roles aren't given much praise, but Granger never seemed to bore of them.

Granger with the
Master of Suspense
It's certainly sad when a celebrity dies, sadder more when most general film-goers don't know the name.  But I find whenever a star like Granger passes, it reminds me how much quality work they've done, and I inevitably begin returning to their work and discovering hidden gems.  I can only hope I get the opportunity to do this with Granger (I've embarrassingly never seen the likes of Rope or Senso, but now they've turned into priorities).

If anything, maybe Granger's passing will get people to discover his work, and especially Strangers on a Train, which is far and away one of Hitchcock's most underrated works (sure, people recognize it, but sadly not on the level of Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, Rebecca, or North by Northwest).  It's a brilliant film, his most suspenseful and complete with a circus-inspired climax only rivaled in the Hitchcock cannon to Vera Miles de-wigging a rotting corpse.


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