Granger, ‘Strangers' provide film festival finale

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

MILFORD - The shock of black hair has turned white and he moves like a man of 80, but still there was no mistaking Farley Granger as he took the stage of the Milford Theater Sunday to a standing ovation. The film star of the 1940’s and 50’s was on hand to introduce Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” in which he starred with Robert Walker. Granger was interviewed on stage by film historian-author John DiLeo. “Alfred Hitchcock,” Granger said, “was the best director I’ve worked with...Unlike other directors I’ve worked with who didn’t know what they were doing, he knew what he was doing all the time,” Hitchcock also knew the value of publicity. Casting Robert Walker, who was recently divorced and then had run-ins with the police and bouts of public drunkeness, Hitchcock confided to Granger, “‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if something happened?’” Walker, who died only a month after the film opened, continued with his drinking problems during the filming. But Hitchcock was undeterred and forgiving of the cast’s errors. “If you forgot something and said ‘I’m sorry,’ Hitchcock’s reply would be ‘It’s only a movie,’” Granger said accentuating Hitchcock’s English drawl. Granger placed “Strangers” among his favorites, along with “Senso” (1954) by Italian director Luchino Visconti, and “They Lived by Night” (1949) by director Nicholas Ray. Did he know that “Strangers” would be a masterpiece? “We felt it was going to be very good,” Granger said.