Monday, March 28, 2011

He Lived by Night: RIP Farley Granger

They are all equal now.

Farley Granger, who starred in the magnificent Nicholas Ray film that gives this blog its name, has died, at the age of 85. He also starred in a whole bunch of other great films, of course, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and Strangers on a Train.

As it so happens, I've been working on a blog post about Visconti's Senso, perhaps Granger's greatest film. So, more on this marvelous actor, and all he represented in both America and Europe, later.

But for now: I've been reading James Kaplan's pretty great biography Sinatra: The Voice, and there is, as you might imagine, a lot in there about the naked power of male vulnerability (or seeming vulnerability), which Sinatra perfected and wielded with the efficiency of a laser-guided missile. So maybe it's just on my mind, but Granger had a similarly magnetic delicacy. But his never felt manipulative, never felt aimed. Even when his characters were using it specifically as a manipulative tactic (Senso is actually a perfect example), there was something very honest and raw about it. Here, you thought, was a guy who really was wounded, and not just playing at it. He maybe wasn't the most technically adept actor, but there were few performers who were just so damned compelling. Rest in peace.

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