Saturday, September 24, 2011

100 Hot Men and a Dame: #94 Farley Granger

94. Farley Granger
Occupation: Actor
Nationality: American
Peak of Hotness: The Late 40's/Early 50's
Best Known For: His work with the legendary Alfred Hitchcock early in his career: Rope and Strangers on a Train

Joining me once again to discuss this rarely discussed actor from the Golden Age is my friend JD from Valley Dreamin' (and from his Twitter). Enjoy!

Dame James: When did you first encounter Farley and, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you fall in love with him?

JD: I believe I first saw him in Rope, and it was more or less love at first sight. He was so adorable and troubled and oh my god, his lips. It didn't hurt that I thought he was legitimately great in it. Then I found out he ACTUALLY was gay and Google Image searched and, well. You know me. BUT ANYWAY. He, and not Hitch, was my primary motivation for seeing Strangers on a Train afterwards! I needed more.

DJ: Rope is where it all began for me, too. I don't think I quite knew what I was getting myself into when I sat down to watch that movie. A ninety minute long take with Farley as the nervous, sensitive, passive (aka the bottom) half of a homicidal homosexual couple? As they say in baseball, touchdown! Even as a 15 year old I knew it was a beautiful thing.

I can't say that I saw Strangers on a Train for Farley--Hitch is da man--but he was certainly a highlight of the film. Or, should I say, his short tennis shorts were a highlight. I know I briefly discussed him in my entry about Andy Roddick, but it bares repeating here: so goddamn hot! And, once again, he plays a (debatable) homosexual involved in a very homoerotic situation. I think it's one of the rare times when Golden Age Hollywood let a known homosexual actually play a (heavily watered-down) homosexual. Do you think this is what ultimately killed his Hollywood career?

JD: Yeah, probably. He lasted quite a bit but his career really is retroactively defined by the two Hitch collabos, isn't it? It's much more than that. I think he might be best in Nick Ray's superb They Live By Night. He could really play emotionally insecure and damaged to a T - which I knooow you like, James. Also, he was totally shirtless in it, I VIVIDLY remember that.

DJ: Why do I not remember the shirtlessness? Has it finally started to happen? Has my memory started to go? Can I not recall important moments such as hot guys taking their shirts off? What has become of me?!

But I do love emotional damaged boys--hell, it even has its own label on my blog!--and Granger is so good and, consequently, attractive in They Live By Night for that very fact. Pretty people with emotional issues gives me a hard-on!

JD: Have you seen Side Street, with They Live By Night co-star Cathy O'Donnell and directed by Anthony Mann? It's SUCH a good film that I never hear anything about, and Farley's such a driving force behind the quality. (Although Jean Hagen doing some of my favorite limited screentime-acting ever doesn't hurt.) I really just wanna see more with him but there seems to be so few things that aren't hidden in the dust of obscurity, sadly. I really need to see Senso though. Though when I get sad about that because I'm lazy, I just Google image search and swoon. HIS LIPS. HIS LIPS.

And I really do think, though, the main factor as to why I love him is, in fact, his actual guy-lovin' and how he never really hid it. That had to have taken some balls, and even if it gave his career a short shelf life, it's always a fantastic thing knowing that someone just didn't submit to the studios for a false image.

DJ: I have not seen Side Street, but now I fully intend to track it down (Farley, Cathy AND Jean Hagen? I'm so in!). It's such a shame that, like you said, most of his work seems to be "hidden in the dust of obscurity."  Then again, many actors would kill to be remembered for just one Hitchcock classic, let alone two, so he's lucky in that respect.

I don't think I realized he was quite so open about his sexuality when I selected him for this list, but now that I do know, it definitely works to his advantage. Granted, I'm no gay rights activist by any means, but I have mad respect for old timey actors who didn't play games with their sexuality. They were fucking whoever they wanted and they didn't care. Farley is the first of a few guys on this list who broke the mold in this manner, and I couldn't be prouder.

What do you think of Farley? Is he a Golden Age actor that does it for you? And what do you think about gay or bisexual actors back in the day who refused to pretend they were straight?

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