Friday, December 14, 2012

Putney Swope [1969]

"The only black man on the executive board of an advertising firm, is accidentally put in charge after the unexpected death of the chairman of the board. Renaming the business "Truth and Soul, Inc.", Swope replaces all but one of the white employees and insists they no longer accept business from companies that produce alcohol, war toys, or tobacco." Putney Swope is fantastic. And not quite what I was expecting. From the descriptions I expected a much heavier 1970s-ish examination of society than what takes place. Instead this film is very funny because it's so odd. Yes there's lots of commentary but it's on both the oppressor/exploiter and the revolutionary. And it's amidst a world in which people talk in funny voices, repeat things ad nauseam, or are dubbed. The main character's wardrobe constantly changes from one dictator trope to another, dressed as Castro in one scene, an African king in the next—As if embodying White America's every fear. And I haven't even mentioned the commercials that are being produced by the Swope lead firm and are interspersed in the film [they are in color, the rest of the film in black and white]. The bottom line is I'm really glad I finally got around to watching this film. Don't sleep on it. Bonus fact for designers, Chermayeff & Geismar did the simple [but well done] titles.


  1. Ooh, great find! I hadn't heard about this film, sounds like a pretty unique one.

    1. Yeah! I think you'd like it. It picks up after the first board room scene.