Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TCM Guest Programmer October 2013: Gilbert Gottfried

TCM saved its Guest Programmer for the very end of the month. Although, to be fair, it's not as if they had too many choices of when to schedule it this month, what with the Story of Film series running on Mondays and Tuesdays, the Friday Night Spotlight, and a Star of the Month taking up Thursdays, it had to be one of the Wednesdays. Anyhow, this month sees Gilbert Gottfried sitting down with Robert Osborne to discuss four films. It's an interesting mix, and an interesting person to present them. Gottfried, because of his distinctive voice and TV appearances, especially in commercials, is definitely well-enough known by people who aren't fans of classic cinema that you'd like to hope his appearance could result in some new eyeballs seeing TCM. (I wouldn't know if the Aflac duck, for which Gottfried provided the voice, is one of those cultural references that's well-known outside of the US.) I wouldn't necessarily have expected somebody like Gottfried, who got his start in stand-up, to have selected some of these films:

First, at 8:00 PM, is the 1939 version of Of Mice and Men, based on John Steinbeck's book in which George (Burgess Meredith) looks after the mentally slow Lennie (Lon Chaney Jr.) while the two do farm work during the Great Depression.
That's followed at 10:00 PM by The Swimmer, in which Burt Lancaster "swims" his way home, by going from one neighbor to the next, swimming in their pools; this one is based on a story by John Cheever and is really about the relationships between the Lancaster character and the others, not about the swimming;
Freaks at midnight is Tod Browning's movie in which a "normal" person falls in love with one of the members of the circus sideshow; and finally
The Conversation at 1:15 AM, starring Gene Hackman as a man doing surveillance work who finds that the corporation for which he's doing the work is doing something they shouldn't be.

TCM's schedule page lists The Swimmer as the only one of the four that you can't get from the TCM Shop; there's an import version available on Amazon as well as an "instant video".

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