Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

INCLUDE ME OUT


INCLUDE ME OUT: My Life from Goldwyn to Broadway. Farley Granger with Robert Calhoun. St. Martin’s Press; 2007.

Farley Granger will always be remembered as the star of Hitchcock’s films Strangers on a Train and Rope (he thinks the latter is minor Hitchcock). He traces his life and career from his early years working for Sam Goldwyn to his work with Hitchcock, his adventures in the New York theater world, his foray into Italian film-making with Luchino Visconti (Senso), and his re-emergence as a Broadway and soap opera actor in his later years. Although he doesn’t use the term himself, Granger is apparently fashionably bisexual in that he has had affairs with both men and women; reading between the lines he seems more interested in men. Granger claims he ended his relationship with playwright Arthur Laurents after he fell in love with Shelley Winters, but a few pages later intimates that he left Laurents after he came home to find him fooling around with another man. Which is it? One gets the sense that Granger wants to hold on to some sort of heterosexual pedigree in somewhat dated fashion. Whatever, he gets credit for not excluding his homoerotic relationships with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and others. In some ways this is a typical Hollywood story of an actor who achieves fame, loses it, and copes as best he can while constantly striving to be the best actor he can be. A bizarre note has Granger going for acting lessons after making his best-known film Strangers on a Train. Not essential reading necessarily, but it certainly is fast-paced and entertaining, with some juicy insider details both filmic and sexual, albeit a bit on the superficial side. As a Man Who Loves Men, one might have expected Granger to discuss, say, the possibly homophobic aspects of Rope, but he glosses over it completely.
Verdict: Enjoyable minor Hollywood memoir with 21st century twists. **½.

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