ROBERT DOWNEY SR. | USA | 1969 | 84 MIN | R
Presented as part of Art House Theater Day, an annual celebration of art house and indie theaters.
A touchstone of countercultural cinema, Robert Downey Sr.’s satirical masterpiece tracks the bizarre rise and fall of African American advertising executive Putney Swope. When he’s accidentally made chief of his Madison Avenue firm, Swope (Arnold Johnson, with his voice dubbed by Downy) fires his lily-white coworkers, hires a staff of young, black, politically-conscious executives, and renames the company Truth and Soul, Inc. Swope and his compatriots turn the industry on its head and draw the ire of the government with a series of outrageous, politically incorrect commercials (peppered throughout the film like transmissions from a bizarro version of 60s America). Skewering everyone from establishment wonks to far-out revolutionaries, this irreverent, unsettling film leaves no corner of American society unscathed. 50 years after its release, PUTNEY SWOPE still has the power to shock and delight.
The film will be preceded by a brand-new video essay featuring exclusive interviews with writer/director Robert Downey Sr.
Restoration by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
Cast: Arnold Johnson, Laura Greene, Buddy Butler, Antonio Fargas
“Funny, sophomoric, brilliant, obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unintelligible, and relevant.” -The New York Times