Sad news, actor Farley Granger died on the 27th March, age 85.
Granger, of course, had an illustrious start to his career, starring in such important films as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) and Strangers On a Train (1951) and Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night (53). Although these are all regarded as classics at the time, they weren’t so succesful on release: Rope’s experimental approach didn’t sit well with the public (and a lot of critics), They Live By Night met with the disapproval of Howard Hughes, who shelved it for a year and subsequently gave it only a sporadic release. His American career after these films, however, deteriorated rapidly, and he was loaned out by his contracted studio, MGM, to star in Senso. The experience was obviously an enjoyable one, buying a home in Rome and enjoying the freedom away from Hollywood (there is some suggestion that his career in the US was stymied by the fact that he was gay and unwilling to actively mask the fact by entering in some kind of articifical marriage or creating false publicity).
Of course, it’s his career in Italy that’s of prime importance to TheWildEye. Surprisingly, considering he enjoyed his experience on Senso, he didn’t make another Italian film for over fifteen years, but then in the early seventies he featured in a number of productions. Lo chiamavano Trinità… (70), was a huge success, but his films varied in terms of quality and budget. On the positive side, there were the likes of Silvio Amadio’s underrated Amuck (Alla ricerca del piacere, 72) and Roberto Montero’s enjoyably sleazy So Sweet, So Dead (Rivelazioni di un maniaco sessuale al capo della squadra mobile, 72). Less effective were Mario Colucci’s dismal Something Creeping in the Dark (Qualcosa striscia nel buio, 71) and the obscure Sweet Spirits (La rossa dalla pelle che scotta, 72). Whatever their merits, he shot nine Italian films between 1970 and 1974, many of which have become cult favourites today.
After this brief busy period, though, Granger cut down on his work in Europe, becoming a regular TV support actor and turning up in the odd low-budget US production (Joseph Zito’s slasher movie The Prowler (81)).