Monday, April 23, 2012

For the Love of Film Blogathon III Preview: Farley Granger and Hitchcock



The next film preservation blogathon, For the Love of Film III, is looming larger than Mount Rushmore. The Siren and her estimable blogging partners Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films and Rod Heath of This Island Rod have already sounded the call for posts, but we are sounding it again.

Soon we'll be releasing information to the media about our drive to raise funds for the National Film Preservation Foundation and its White Shadow project. The NFPF wants to stream the movie for all to see and record the score by Michael Mortilla.

If you already signed up, there's no need to do so again; but if you haven't, and you plan to blog, step up and be counted. Leave a comment here, at Marilyn's place, or drop one of us a line at our emails, located right on the sidebars. Marilyn, Rod and the Siren welcome posts on director Graham Cutts, Alfred Hitchcock, film preservation, film scores, silent films, and if you've got something even more original, we're all ears. All are more than welcome, and by all means tell your friends.

Meanwhile, as an aperitif, the Siren is posting the complete version of a piece she did for the now-defunct Nomad Widescreen last year, on Farley Granger's two Hitchcock films. It's been revised and updated, and reflects the fact that the Siren has since read Granger's fine autobiography, Include Me Out.





Farley Granger’s own favorite among his movies was Luchino Visconti’s Senso (1954); he made several other highly regarded films, including Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night (1949) and Anthony Mann's Side Street (1950), as well as some interesting curios like the pro-Soviet The North Star, and box-office successes that haven’t lingered in the public’s memory, like Hans Christian Anderson (which Granger synopsized as “boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets boy”).

 But the two most widely seen Farley Granger movies are, and will probably remain, the two he made with Alfred Hitchcock: Rope, from 1948, and Strangers on a Train, from 1951. His death last year at age 85 prompted tributes to both films, especially the magnificent Strangers.

 The earlier movie, Rope, is the more problematic, but the Siren likes it, a lot. Each time she sees it, the film strikes her as more genuinely cinematic (see Glenn Kenny's discussion of this very concept with regard to the set-bound Carnage). Several moments are as chilling as anything in Hitchcock, and certain effects still knock the Siren sideways. She'll never get tired of watching the light gradually fade from the vast windows of the two murderers' apartment--New York as a brooding, implacable offstage character.




Rope is usually described as an interesting experiment that didn’t quite come off, a party line that Granger himself subscribed to. Hitchcock shot in long takes of up to ten minutes, breaking them up mostly by panning into an object that disguises the cut with a brief moment of dark screen.

There's definitely a “look ma, no hands” to the idea of Hitchcock, famous for the subtlety and rhythm of his compositions and cuts, throwing away those tools. Rather than being just stagey, however, Rope becomes a long game with the very notion of staginess, as the camera forces points of view that a theatre audience would never get. In one extraordinary instance, the lens stays trained on the maid who’s tidying up the chest that holds the dead body. The camera watches her clear the dishes from this macabre buffet table, blow out the candles, take away the tablecloth and prepare, perhaps, to open the chest; and all the while, just out of sight range, we hear the others discussing the dead man’s whereabouts.



The movie is based on the Leopold and Loeb murder case, two young men in Chicago who murdered a 14-year-old boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. It has often been argued that the two murderers were lovers. Montgomery Clift was offered Granger’s role in Rope but turned it down, quite possibly because he feared the light it would shine on his own proclivities; indeed, Clift turned down Sunset Boulevard for similar reasons, because of his involvement with the much-older singer Libby Holman. Granger, who at age 22 had already embarked on a lifelong pursuit of both men and women, had no such hesitation. He later said that he always considered himself a working actor, not a star, and Granger didn’t fear the homoerotic subtext of either of the films he did for Hitchcock.

Mind you, in his autobiography Granger says he spent years disappointing critics and interviewers when asked about discussions with Hitchcock about just what was going on between Rope's two main characters: "What discussions? It was 1948." That didn't mean, though, that Granger himself and co-star John Dall were clueless. For one thing, Granger was talking to screenwriter Arthur Laurents, with whom he had just embarked upon an affair:
Arthur made sure that I was aware of what he felt was going on between the characters, and, of course, John Dall and I discussed the subtext of our scenes together. We knew that Hitch knew what he was doing and had built sexual ambiguity into his presentation of the material. Jimmy Stewart must have known that the film was based on Leopold and Loeb, but I'm sure he felt that as far as his character was concerned, any implied sexual relationship between his students was strictly their business.
Rope posits a classic case of criminal folie a deux, with Brandon (John Dall) as the more dominant partner, but Granger is no mere pawn, and that isn’t the way he plays it. After all, it is Philip who is strangling their friend in the opening sequence, not Brandon. Sure, Philip is weak, but that is never synonymous with powerless. Instead Philip uses his weakness to go after what he wants, which is to get caught.


That desire is there in his curt “don’t” when Dall tries to switch on the light after the murder. And it’s even more apparent when amateur psychic Constance Collier, when asked how his piano concert will go, tells him “these hands will bring you great fame”--Granger’s expression is not fear, but remorse. The steadily rising hysteria of Philip’s behavior is such that he’d have to be an idiot not to know that he’s giving the game away, and Philip is no idiot. He’s working toward his goal, using the weak person’s tools of manipulation and provocation.


So Granger’s most famous moment in the movie, when James Stewart’s ex-headmaster questions Granger and his more domineering partner in crime, isn’t simply about abject fear. He’s also playing regret and self-loathing: “Who’s the cat, and who’s the mouse?” The cat, in terms of manipulating the conversation and ensuring that Stewart becomes even more suspicious, may well be Granger himself. When Granger cracks at the end and threatens Dall with a gun, he plays the action with less agitation, not more--he’s come close to his desire at last.



Strangers on a Train, made three years later, gives Granger a similar premise and character. He plays another man, Guy Haines, trying to extricate himself from a situation he was lured into, the degree of Guy’s complicity being something even Guy can’t quite work out for himself. Certainly this handsome tennis player has violence in him, as when he grabs his scheming wife in front of a store full of customers and shakes her until a manager intervenes. Unlike Philip, Guy has enough of a self-preservation instinct to pull back at the last minute, however attractive he may find Robert Walker’s offer of murder, or indeed Walker himself.


Granger has less to say in Include Me Out about the themes of Strangers, figuring perhaps that they'd been hashed out enough elsewhere. He does tell a well-known story about seeing Hitchcock slouched and unhappy in his chair, asking what was wrong, and getting the response, "Oh, I'm just bored." The creative work was already done, and the director was transferring "from paper to film," no more excited than an author retyping a manuscript. Despite Hitchcock's ennui, Granger said Strangers was the happiest set he ever worked on.

Granger’s playing of that first scene on the train is a marvel. Walker leans in, his words pleasant and flattering, as the lines of his mouth and the glitter in his eyes imply all sorts of interest in the good-looking man across the table. Granger keeps his legs crossed and his body closed off. Guy's responses to Bruno's come-ons have the polite perfunctory quality he might use for a bore droning on about Eisenhower’s budget proposals, but the intensity of Granger's eye contact with Walker suggests a response that Guy may not even be admitting to himself. Later, confronted with incontrovertible proof that Bruno meant it all, Guy's disbelief seems ever more hollow.


Dan Callahan describes Guy as “one of Hitch’s most unappealing heroes,” and the Siren has to agree, although she's got other candidates. But what does Guy do, exactly, aside from shaking his wife? He doesn’t tell Bruno to murder anybody, and when he finds that Bruno has, he tries to bring him to justice. He plays tennis, he goes to dinner, he doesn't lie to his sweetie Ruth Roman about still being technically married. He even rescues a little boy in the carousel scene.

What’s unsympathetic in Guy comes from Granger’s performance--the shifting eyes, the impatient, petulant tone, the “everything happens to me” attitude he brings to so much of what happens; and that choice shows great nerve on Granger’s part. Given a role of ambiguous morality, he increases the questions about the character, rather than trying to emphasize the good-Guy qualities.

That service to both Hitchcock’s movies probably didn’t do Granger’s potential leading-man status any favors. A big male star may show violence, ambivalence, a lack of ethics, but those things are supposed to come roaring out from manly inner demons. Playing character flaws brought out by a stronger character’s manipulation isn’t a choice likely to vault someone to a spot above the title. In 2007 Granger told critic Stephen Whitty, “I wasn't going to listen to anyone saying you can't do this, you can't do that. I didn't care about that. I was just going to go my own way." Looking back at his two most famous movies from a distance of sixty years, there's no doubt that he meant it.

66 comments:

rudyfan1926 said...

Said it before, but confirming, I'm in and doing The Mountain Eagle and Family Plot.

Peter Labuza said...

I think I DM'ed on Twitter before, but I'm def cooking something up, so put me on whatever listserv there is (plabuza at gmail).

And great post, Siren. Granger in "Strangers" always struck me as one of the most average of the average man Hitchcock protagonists, and very similar to Jon Fincher in "Frenzy" in that he never does anything particularly wrong, he's just not really a particularly nice fellow, and you really nailed how much of that comes through in Granger's performance. I think it makes him in a way more identifiable because a lot of people just want to be left to their own business, and would rather not have to "deal" with anyone ever.

Andrew Welch said...

I left a note at Ferdy on Films, but I'll leave one here too. I'm definitely in. I'm thinking of doing something on Rear Window, but if I can work any other titles into the same post, I'll try.

Andrew Davies said...

I'm in. Hitchcock is my favourite director so I'd be excited to write about one of his films. If there's anything specific I could do, I'd be up for it.

Peter Nellhaus said...

I have a very special "Coffee Break" coming up.

said...

Hi, Siren. I would love to do a post in this blogathon. I came up with the idea of mixing Hitchcock, silent movies and restoration processes.
Greetings,
Le

DavidEhrenstein said...

I had the enormous pleasure, Siren, of meeting Farley Granger when he toured with his memoir Include Me Out. He adored Hitchcock and explained that the reason his Strangers on a Train experience was preferable to the one he had with Rope was because on the latter Hitch was totally involved with tecnical matters and dealt with him persoanlly very little. On Strangers he brought him into the process -- explaining why the shots were set up the way they were, what the result would look like and what effect it would have on the audience.

was indeed inspired by the Leopod and Loeb case and Leopold and Loeb were lovers -- as Tom Kalin shows in his superb Swoon. Rope was of course made under the production code which explictly forbade any mention of "strange twilight urges" (as Teh Ghey was called in the old days.) Consequently it's the most massive case of "slippin' one past the goalie" EVAH!

The Hays office claimed that Patrick Hamilton's play was gay because the characters addressed each other as "My dear boy," and the like. Naive doesn't beging to describe it. So Hitch had Arthur Laurents do a "Page One Rewrite>"
In his invaluable Original Story By Laurents discloses what went on. He reconcieved this British play in terms of New York's upper crust and as a result paints the most striking picture of gay life until The boys in the Band came along. Both Fraley granger and John Dall were gauy -- and farley was haiving an affair with Arthur at the time. So Arthur wodnered "Does Hitch know?" And by golly he did!

Hitch wanted Cary Grant to play Rupert Cadell and Cary turned him down -- for reasons too obvious to mention. The murder to a very large degree constituttes an "outing". The murderers commit it to impress their teacher who they believe would have approved. And that'sa because they think he's gya. James Stewart wasn't gay and therefore his character isn't. They were wrong-- but the disastrous result is the same.

Can you but imagine what Rope would have been lik with cary grant?

Casey said...

I spent a lot of time watching Hitchcock last year, and one of the things that struck me was the fact that he liked to experiment with the medium. A lot of these experiments were really audacious, given that he was a commercial filmmaker. Whether he was testing the possibilities of sound (Blackmail), trying out extended takes (Rope, Under Capricorn), exploring the use of color (again Rope, Under Capricorn) or limiting/eliminating music (Lifeboat, The Wrong Man, The Birds). He really wanted to test the medium, and I can't think of any other studio director who so consistently tried to push the boundaries. (Welles tried, and got kicked out of town for his trouble.)

theduckthief said...

I've read about this but never participated so this time I'm taking the plunge.

I've got some silent films on my to-do list.

How exactly does the blogathon work? Do we need to put a poster/link on our blog? I'd love to be able to check out other posts that week so I assume there will be a list of participants somewhere.

Can't wait to get started!

Dave Enkosky said...

I'm definitely gonna take part in the blogathan. I don't know specifically what I'll be doing, but it'll be something Hitchcocky.

By the way, I never much cared for Rope, as I always thought it a bit gimmicky, but your post made me wanna rewatch it.

DavidEhrenstein said...

That's quite true about Hitchcock, Casey. What he had going for him was that whatever the project it was always in the form of a thriller. He "Branded Himself" long before "Branding" became a concept. Consequently audiences knew they were always going to get one kind of thrill or other from a hitchcock film, whether it be big fluffy romance like To Catch a Thief or a witty, urban-set murder mystery like Rear Window. Because he delivered the basics he had a free hand to go off in all sorts of directions. And one of his most audacious experiemnts, Psycho proved to be one of his biggest hits.

La Faustin said...

Off-Blogathon, but: Oh please write about Senso! It has Alida, it has Costumes, and with Visconti, Paul Bowles, and Tennessee Williams collaborating, the set must have had more head-spinning ambiance than any since von Stroheim in his prime.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Indeed it did. Franco Zefferelli was a.d. and Visconti was breaking up with him at the time. He was convinced Visconti had thrown him over for Farley -- and tried to dye Farley's hair blonde as revenge. Farley found this quite amusing. he adored Visconti who was at palins to explain every detail of the production to whom -- the historical persiod beign represented, how people behaved in those days, the lot.

Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles get screen credit for reasons that constitutte a story in and of itself. Libby Holman had run off with Paul's arab boyfriend. Tennessee found out from Visconti that they were in Rome so he and Bowles flew there. While getting the boyfriend back they were offered the job o creatingf dialogue for an english-lanuage version. Visconti was looking forward to the international films he'd create towards the end of his career (The Damned, Death in Venice, Ludwig) and Senso was a stab at it. it didn't quite come off. Therer's an english-dubbed version available but it's not very good. Anyhoo, Paul got the boyfriend back.

Yojimboen said...

Technically, David, there is no un-dubbed version of Senso. Virtually all Italian films are dubbed - post-synched – the technique of shooting picture and synch sound at the same time never quite caught on in the Italian Film Industry for various reasons not relevant here (a grievous lament for a different day), so with Senso you take your pick: Alida Valli dubbed into English with lip movements in Italian, or Farley Granger dubbed into Italian, with lip movements in English. Probably like you, I prefer the latter, with English sub-titles.

DavidEhrenstein said...

I know what you mena Yojimb. But late Visconti is primarily in english -- L'innocente Conversation Piece are exceptions. In any event what he wanted for Senso was somehting more sophisticated than the usual dubbing in that both of his stars spoke english.

BTW he orginally wanted Ingrid Bergman and Marlon Brando for Senso.

Jeff Gee said...

"...indeed, Clift turned down Sunset Boulevard for similar reasons, because of his involvement with the much-older singer Libby Holman..." --The Siren

"...Libby Holman had run off with Paul[Bowles]'s arab boyfriend..."

So who's got the movie rights to the Libby Holman story?

Jeff Gee said...

(The second Libby Holman quote should have been attributed to David Ehrenstein)

Noel Vera said...

I got two existing pieces in mind and might do a third...

Yojimboen said...

Libby's biopic was done in 1933: Sing, Sinner, Sing.

What a dame! You couldn't throw a stick through the 30s or 40s without hitting some guy or gal she'd slept with, bless her heart.

rcocean said...

I like Farley but what a bland screen presence. No sizzle or pop whats so ever. Its a good thing Walker is so good otherwise....

Yojimboen said...

Libby also kicked open a few doors to minority performers in her time.

Her trick was simple: She rehearsed her show, advertised it to the nth degree, then on opening night she would inform the management that those "colored" members of her company, who had hitherto been forced to enter the theater/night club through the back doors, would now be admitted through the front doors, plus the audience would be integrated or...
Libby wouldn't go on.

She won more often than she lost.
Here she is with Clifton Webb and Fred Allen.

Yojimboen said...

Sorry, here:

DavidEhrenstein said...

Farley popped plenty for me, rcocean.

rcocean said...

DE,

I meant On-screen, not off.

DavidEhrenstein said...

He sure pops HERE.

Judy Berman said...

In Francois Truffaut' "Hitchcock," Hitchcock said he "wasn't too pleased with Farley Granger" in "Strangers on a Train." He would have preferred to see William Holden in that part "because he's stronger. In this kind of story the stronger the hero, the more effective the situation." Still I liked the tension in the movie. I love Hitchcok and would like you to add me to your listto preserve films.

X. Trapnel said...

Holden would have been superb as a smiling phony gradually dismantled by Walker's cunning. Imagine him responding to Bruno with condescension, then discomiture, then fear. Granger just collapses at the outset and we're not so much interested in him as in the situation.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Granger reacts like a man seduced against his better judgement. Not sure how that would have owrked with Holden who always comes off resolute -- even in Sunset Boulevard where he's entrapped by Gloria Swanson. Walker is the dominant figure in Strangers on a Train -- whcih is the way Highsmith wrote him. Hitchcock adores stong villains and bruno is one of his most powerful.

Shamus said...

Although, Hitchcock's (retrospective) preference for Holden over Granger may simply be that Holden was the greater actor and the more interesting star. And, like Wilder, he could have exposed the corruption behind Holden's star image (the surest way to immortality for both parties, it seems).

Gilbert Adair once commented (via a fictional mouthpiece) that the final carousel sequence at the end of Strangers was "borrowed" from Edmund Crispin's novel, "The Moving Toyshop", a fact which I could ascertain but one that, nonetheless, warmed my heart.

X. Trapnel said...

I think much could have been made with the crumbling of Holden's resoluteness; the all-American go-getter at bay would have been truly subversive.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Well Sunset Boulevard did that. Strangers on a Train is an entirely different animal.

X. Trapnel said...

Not really; a disgruntled Hollywood screenwriter is a different creature altogether from a smiling athlete romancing the senator's daughter. Holden might have inspired Walker to even greater heights of malevolence. Now, if there were a way to ditch Tiomkin's nugatory score...

DavidEhrenstein said...

I disagree. Granger's tennis pro is a success. Holden's screenwriter an abject failure. Granger is trying to cover up a crime he didn't commit. Holden is trying to extricate himself from a relationship he's become unwittingly dependent on.
Guy and Bruno live in somethign reselming the world as we know it. Norma Desmond lives in a world she's created for herself.

The Siren said...

Gotta say I'm with Ehrenstein on this one. And the attraction to Bruno? Dearly as I love Holden, when did he ever project something like that?

Ms.Zebra said...

Count me in.

X. Trapnel said...

My point was precisely that Joe Gillis is a failure and that William Holden as the successful Guy Haines therefore would have been a stronger, more subversive target for Hitchcock's analysis of moral ambiguity, likability covering up murderous rage and ambition. Granger is merely petulant and uninteresting.

Shamus said...

David, it seems odd- to me, it is Holden who has that veneer of a successful businessman and Granger who possesses that whiny petulance of a misfit-loser, who might possibly be entrapped by a rich, older woman out for kinky sex. (Those talons of Swanson's, I mean.)

To see how far we might take this game, I propose Charles Boyer as Joe Gillis, (appropriately Franco-phoned, of course), and imbued with all that desperation Wilder must have felt as an immigrant in a strange land.

Shamus said...

Sort of Hold Back the Dawn's Little Dividend .

Yojimboen said...

A’twixt and a’tween, here, X… Agree and disagree. “Success” and “failure” are relative terms here; for my money, Holden is far more successful (believable) as Joe Gillis, screenwriter, than Granger is as Guy Haines, pro-tennis player.

Fantasizing about what might’ve been relies rather heavily on the acceptable premise that it might actually have come about. But there wasn’t the remotest chance of Holden playing Bruno or Guy, or for that matter ever going anywhere near a role which might question his masculinity; despite the fact that from early days to the peak of his career it was almost written into his contract he would bare his manly chest at some point in the proceedings:
That was for the ladies.

Picnic was about as close as Holden ever came to portraying a character remotely suggesting sexual ambiguity; and that only in Inge’s play. In the dread Josh Logan’s film “Holden was the no-good loafer who bums his way into town, treats the women like dogs, bares his torso and ships out on the freight-car just as the pack of them are fawning round his ankles.” [David Shipman]

Though no Bruno or Guy, I think Holden might have been a good Tom Ripley. Apropos which, I think a tip-o-the-hat is due the creator of all these men, the remarkable Patricia Highsmith.

DavidEhrenstein said...

The Holden of The Fleet's In would have made a good Ripley, but not the later one. Still there's a soupcon de Highsmith to the Holden of Fedora

Yojimboen said...

Lovely new banner, chère Madame (as always).

FYI it was taken on the Embankment in October 1948 just before production began on Under Capricorn.
Photo by no less than Robert Capa.
(Another from the series here).

What a dazzling smile she had!
Though there are some cynics (pas mois!) who say her smile was at least partly due to the fact she had just begun her affair with Rossellini.

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Count me in as well. Gave the blogathon a plug. . . http://psychotronicpaul.blogspot.com/2012/04/for-love-of-film-blogathon-starts-may.html

DavidEhrenstein said...

She had also been carrying on with capa, Yojimb.

DavidEhrenstein said...

And leave us not forget her affair with My Favrorite Communist who wrote the score to one of the greatest British films ever made.

Yojimboen said...

Dear me, David; Robert Capa? Larry Adler? Victor Fleming? Who knew the cool Swede had such an active… social life?
But to keep it vaguely on-topic (and for those who missed it), here she is as Diana from the mostly-excised Salvador Dali dream sequence in Hitch’s Spellbound.

DavidEhrenstein said...

She was a much hotter Swede than she's been given credit for. And I think Hitch was well aware of that.

DavidEhrenstein said...

The communist harmonica player gives it his all for the grand finale!

Yojimboen said...

Harmonica? You know perfectly well, David that throughout his career Larry Adler insisted the instrument was called a 'mouth-organ' and, in a comment stream whose sub-topic is hetero hi-jinks, I ain't touchin' that one with a fork.

mischy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DavidEhrenstein said...

How about a ten foot pole?

Chris Walters said...

Siren, I despaired of film criticism before you came on the scene. Always inspiring, these essays of yours. I think the undercurrents of weakness, perversity -- maybe even the polymorphous kind! -- and a general strangeness of bearing made Granger an odd man out in Hollywood. Perhaps producers were puzzled about what to do with him more than anything else. At any rate, fine piece, you make my heart soar like a hawk.

Vanwall said...

I'm in, perhaps not going big, tho, sorry.

As for Granger, he always projected a nervousness that masked something, you just had to figure that out in each film, but in truth, it may have been because he was under the Code thumb.

In "Rope", I find it interesting that the upper-crust Universities were actually hotbeds of recruiting gay members, and straight, into a variety of hidden machinations - the Kim Philbys of the Cambridge Five hadn't been outed yet, but it's curious there's a flavor of intrigue in the general drift of the plot.

I think Granger is perfect as Guy in SOAT, Hitch needed an ordinary-seeming fella as the fall guy, one that wasn't strong or forceful. Just desperate.

gmoke said...

Farley Granger's Guy reminds me of Jon Finch's Richard Blaney in a film the Siren dislikes, "Frenzy." They are both unappealing "heroes" matched with more charismatic villains.

X. Trapnel said...

I've always wondered about the university backgrounds of Philip Vandamm (recall the photo in "George Kaplan's" hotel room) and Leonard (Stalinist alcove at the City College cafeteria?).

DavidEhrenstein said...

It's not "recruiting" at all Vanwall. That's the way the upper crust gay world ran in those days. "Fashionable young gentlemen" loved to gether, tended to by induggent motherly housekeepers. "Beard" like Janet were passed around within the cricle -- and sometimes a "fashionable young gentleman" would marry one.

The gayness of Rope is so marked that "hidden in plain sight" scarcely applies. The major tension between Granger and Dall is that they used to be lovers, but Dall has dropped Granger romantically -- while keeping him on the string. What he wants to do is nail Rupert (James Stewart) and the murder is his means of doing so.

Vanwall said...

Oh yes, in that respect, M. Ehrenstein, that was quite obvious. I was referring to the outside entanglements: political; intelligence organizations; agents provocateur; secretive doings; and more, that were like willing blackmail for thrilling betrayals. And from all spectra and every orientation on both sides of the equations. I seem to detect a whisper of a wisp of a suggestive word, that deeper things than mere murders were possible in this film's specific little world.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Oh that's true, but another sort of film would be required to explore that -- one that I hope one day will be made. By that I'm specifically referring to the "Red Scare" of the immedate post World War II period in which the search for communists was by and large a cover for a search for gays -- with subsequent backstabbings and batrayals. This was what Whittaker Chamber's denunciation of Alger Hiss was all about -- though the book editor of the NYT would rather swallow poison than face this simple fact. And I'm sure Vanwall, that I don't have to intoruce you to Roy Cohn.

Sheila O'Malley said...

I'm in - just have to decide on a topic!

brookesboy said...

In the early '70s, Mr. Granger was nominated for an Emmy for his role on my favorite soap opera, One Life To Live. That was before I began watching. But I bet he had the time of his life on this sudsy funhouse tilting on the edge of a cliff.

Jeff Gee said...

Let's say the irreplacable Robert Walker had died a few months before he did. Who does Hitchcock get to fill in?

Yojimboen said...

On the set of Since You Went Away (1943); Selznick oilily preens over his new possession: Jennifer Jones (who’d rather not be there), still married to Robert Walker who, besides having to make love to her character in the film, must also go along with the tortuous open secret that his wife was fucking the producer and there wasn’t shit could do about it (short of throttling Selznick – look at his hands, he’s right on the edge) and still have a career.

Though it would take him another 6 years to die, this is really what killed Robert Walker.

StephenWhitty said...

Siren

One of the nicest afternoons I ever spent was at Farley Granger's apartment, when "Include Me Out" came out.

His place was near the Dakota but also not of it -- very much a middle-class, '70s Manhattan apartment, with steel-and-glass etageres and a huge cassette/hifi system.

I brought palmiers, because I'd read that he liked him. He was obviously failing a bit then, but his partner kept him on track -- which is why, when he went prematurely, I knew "Far" would not last long.

I'm sure I shamelessly sent you this link when he died, but here it is again, in case anyone wants a last glimpse of the man

http://bit.ly/hSqZyu

mischy said...

fitness centers minnesota


Hello. These films are phenomenal. he beauty of women in the 80's is truly unbeatable.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Lovely article Mr. Whitty!

DavidEhrenstein said...

Off-Topic: Thanks to my relentless nudging David Cairns finally gets around to dissecting The Driver's Seat.

brookesboy said...

It's true, Robert Walker never got over losing Jennifer Jones. Being a huge Jennifer fan, as she is my favorite screen siren, I cannot lay the blame at her feet. But I do empathize with the greatly talented Walker, who I discovered descended into a booze-soaked depression from which he never recovered, and ultimately led to his early death. I read in an Ava Gardner bio that during the filming of A Touch of Venus, he stalked her with such depravity that he called her the worst label you can place on a lady, and she wouldn't even be in his vicinity unless they were on set. Walker was brilliant in Strangers on a Train, and he could have accomplished much more screen gold. Reportedly he died after a doctor prescribed a sedative without knowing he had alcohol in his system, which proved fatal. Jennifer was distraught at his passing. I believe she had more guilt over the breakup than she ever let on. Her kindness was there always.