Putney Swope (1969)


Robert Downey Sr. directs Arnold Johnson, Antonio Fargas and Allen Garfield in this indie satire about a black executive who accidentally gets elected head of his advertising company and sets about making some radical changes.

A comedy so discombobulatingly strange and aggressively swerving in its direction you cannot help but be impressed by it. This social demolition derby often looks like outtakes from a forgotten fourth Austin Powers where the sixties superspy takes on the monochrome black community without even turning up for the film. The politics, cool and targets have all dated horribly but the directorial attitude is so avant garde yet grounded in concept and milleu that you are never bored. Even when it is characters just repeatedly shouting over each other for no purpose. Base level: advertising is bad for the soul, everyone (no matter their good intentions) is self serving at heart and revolutions are destructive rather than instructive. But you can have fun trying.



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