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Include Me Out: Interview with Farley Granger
By Jonathan Marlow
January 26, 2007 - 4:34 PM PST

"Farley begged him to figure out a way to get him out of the contract."

That was all it had going for it?

Calhoun: Eddie showed it at a film noir thing that he did in L.A.

At the Egyptian?

Granger: Yes.

Calhoun: Aside from the premiere, which he didn't see -- he was really there to be in attendance -- Farley saw it for the first time [at the L.A. screening]. To this day, he can't be realistic about it because it was such an unhappy experience for him. I found his performance really quite good in it but the story of the film is just a total mess. We sat over coffee at breakfast the next morning and made three or four changes that would've made it into a perfectly acceptable plot. But nobody did that at the time. They added Mala Powers because they decided he needed a love interest. Joan Evans was also in it but her part was meaningless.

I won't rush out to see it.

Calhoun: Do you really want to see it?

I still do?

Calhoun: Well, he's good in it.

When you made Strangers on a Train, you were working with Hitchcock again but you were still under contract with Goldwyn. You were constantly being shopped-out to other studios at this time. At least in this case, it was a fortunate "shopping out" because the film is among Hitchcock's very best?

Granger: Hitch wanted me.

Did you enjoy working on that film, particularly the cat-and-mouse interplay with Robert Walker?

Granger: I loved it.

Did you continue to play tennis after high school?

Granger: I used to play up at Charlie Chaplin's place.

Calhoun: And you took lessons from Bill Tilden up at Charlie Chaplin's.

When you finished "Strangers", this is around the time when you decided to disappear to Italy?

Granger: Yes. I rented a house [in Rome]?

Calhoun: But that was later, that was after?

That was after Hans Christian Anderson, with Danny Kaye. That was still a Goldwyn project, right?

Granger: Yes.

Was that the last film you did with Goldwyn?

Granger: Yes.

Was it clear, during your last few films with the studio, that it had run its course? That you weren't interested in working with Goldwyn anymore?

Granger: I decided that I didn't want to work with Goldwyn a few years earlier?

But you were still?

Granger: But I was still under contract. He'd let me go if I gave him back all the money I had. Which I did.

Calhoun: What Farley wanted Goldwyn to do was split his contract with 20th [Century Fox] because Dana Andrews had a split contract. But Goldwyn wouldn't do that for Farley because he was "the kid." Farley would have done a lot better working out of 20th because Goldwyn only made one movie a year. And, for Farley, Hans Christian Anderson was the final unhappy experience with Goldwyn. Charlie Feldman was Farley's agent and Farley begged him to figure out a way to get him out of the contract. What Feldman eventually figured out was that Goldwyn would let him go, although he had two or three years remaining, if he paid him the money that he would be making in those two and three years coming. At that time, he was making more than he was when he first started, so it turned out to be quite a bit of money.

Before we get away from that period, I wanted to talk briefly about the film that you made with Shelley Winters -- Behave Yourself! It's got a great cast and a lot of really great characters?

Granger: A lot of wonderful characters.

You'd been friends with Shelly Winters for quite a while by that point. How were you finally able to do a film together?

Granger: We just decided to do it!

You don't really get a chance to play comedic roles very often. The film showed a really different side of your acting abilities than your earlier work.

Granger: Right.

You clearly enjoyed making it.

Granger: I did. She was impossible!

Calhoun: What he's told me about that film was the script was terrific but unfortunately the studio gave in to the writer's demand to direct it. It was the first film [George Beck] directed and he really didn't know what he was doing.

Granger: It was a very, very funny script and a great cast.

I still think it's an enjoyable film.

Granger: Good!

It does appear on television every so often.

Granger: Does it?

Yes, on Turner Classic Movies. You appear on TCM occasionally. They have an interview with you and they seem to keep cutting it up in different ways for whatever context they need. When you went to Italy, at that point you made a film with Luchino Visconti, which is among his very best, Senso. As I understand it, you were a fan of opera at the time. I wager that you were familiar with Il trovatore [featured in the film]?

Granger: I knew it.

Was it difficult working in another country, another language?

Granger: It was strange. It became stranger the longer that I was there, which was quite a long time. We all got to understand each other better over time.

Calhoun: Also you and Alida [Valli] did your scenes in English.

Granger: We did it all in English.

Calhoun: And most of his stuff in the movie is with Alida.

next >>>

"It was amazing. I really enjoyed it very much. There were so many important actors in the film."
"Farley begged him to figure out a way to get him out of the contract."
"When I went back to New York, I did a lot of theater."

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Jonathan Marlow
In addition to his persistence in acquiring obscure films for GreenCine, Marlow is a writer, filmmaker, curator and occasional critic. Not necessarily in that order. He is also a dedicated skeptic.

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January 26, 2007. Include Me Out: Interview with Farley Granger by Jonathan Marlow

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