Guest Programmer: Gilbert Gottfried
Brooklyn-born Gottfried made his debut in stand-up comedy at age 15 and soon became known as "the comedian's comedian." He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1980-81 season and has since played numerous roles in film and television. He is known for his voice work, which has included the parrot Iago in Aladdin (1992), Digit in the PBS cartoon show Cyberchase and, for a time, the Aflac Duck.
Gottfried chooses Of Mice and Men (1939) partly because of his fascination with Lon Chaney Jr. of the old "Wolf Man" movies, who gives an "amazing" performance as Lennie in the John Steinbeck classic. Gottfried discovered The Swimmer (1968), while "watching TV late at night years ago" and became fascinated by its story of a man (Burt Lancaster) who makes a journey of discovery by swimming in a series of pools in his suburban neighborhood.
Gottfried also became intrigued with Freaks (1932) because of its connection to old horror movies through its director, Tod Browning (Dracula): "He uses actual circus freaks, and people at the time were not prepared for it... It has a nightmare tone." He finds The Conversation (1974), with Gene Hackman as an alienated wiretapper, "hypnotizing" because of its film noir attitude, "where the worst thing you can do is let your guard down and show any trust or compassion."