A stranger we loved

Last Updated: April 14, 2014By Tags:

Hitchcock fans, it’s time to mourn; Farley Granger has passed on at the of age 85.

Known in his later years for his turn in “Hawaii 5-0,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” and “Love Boat,” Granger’s star first rose in 1948, when he headlined the strange (and strangely short) Hitchcock picture “Rope” with John Dall and Jimmy Stewart. His reputation really soared, however, after he landed the top role in another Hitchcock picture, “Strangers on a Train.” The year was 1951.

In it, Granger plays a social-climbing tennis star anxious to dump his wife for a more glamorous Senator’s daughter (played by Ruth Roman). After happening upon an effete stranger, played indelibly by Robert Walker, Granger’s character unwittingly gets drawn into a murder plot when he thinks he’s just having an innocent conversation. The film rapidly becomes a metaphor for Communist infiltration, government conspiracy (this was Hitch’s only film shot in Washington, D.C.) and closeted homosexuality. Granger’s on-screen presence and good looks made a lasting impression on a great many moviegoer.

Though he hadn’t graced movie screens since 2001, Granger was a living, breathing reminder of an era when cinema was revered and films, like the characters that populated them, continued to live within us long after the fact.