For this first installment of “Deep Dives” we wanted to start off nice and slow with “Putney Swope” from Robert Downey Sr., yes father of Iron Man.
“Putney Swope” is a 1969 satirical comedy akin to the likes of “Dr.Strangelove”.
Downey Sr’s approaches racial prejudice in Hollywood and corporate corruption in a comical manner to ease these topics into the audiences conscience, while the film is heavily satirical some of the moments are spot on with reality.
The film is about Putney Swope, the only black man on the executive board of an advertising firm. His story begins with the death of the current chairman of the board, the group is forced to vote in order to name a new chairman. Swope ends up winning unanimously, due to the other members thinking he had no chance of winning. Swope rebrands the company into “Truth and Soul, INC”, Replacing all but one of the white employees with black employees, he goes on to no longer accept business from companies that produce alcohol, tobacco, or toy guns.
At the time and even today sadly it would be untypical to see such a predominantly black cast. It was really refreshing to see. Although the film can feel somewhat cartoony in parts, is a reflection of the real life issues the film is looking at.
Written by @jitcamp727