Farley Granger, the 1940s matinee idol best known for two Hitchcock films — Strangers of a Train and Rope — died this week. He was 85.
Granger was openly bisexual, though only so after his film career had ended. In his 2007 autobiography Include Me Out, he was open about his personal life, saying he had affairs and/or relationships with Shelley Winters, Ava Gardner, Aurthur Laurents and Leonard Bernstein. Granger’s partner, Robert Calhoun, died in 2008.
Granger’s orientation is interesting in that the two films he is best known for contain obvious suggestions of homosexuality. In Rope, Granger and John Dall play characters inspired by Leopold and Loeb, who get a sexual thrill planning the murder of a friend. Because of the Hays Office at the time, they could not be explicit about the gay angle and it became subtext. In Strangers of a Train, an apparently gay man (Robert Walker) becomes obsessed with Granger and swaps (or thinks he does) murders with him.