Thursday, November 5, 2009

Great Moments in Race Relations: Putney Swope

I'm not here to bash this fairly-obscure bit of social commentary by Robert Downey Sr. This film- the story of a black executive becoming C.E.O. when every board member inadvertently gives him their 'symbolic' vote- is good, although definitely feels more disjointed than it should. Why the movie is included here is because of some post-production hijinks.

After the film was wrapped, Downey felt that the film had a problem: it's black star's voice. There was obviously only one solution in his mind. As such, Downey re-dubbed all of the man's lines! If you thought that doing 'black-face' was bad, how do you feel about black voice? Mind you, the film is a comedy, but still...If you need any more proof, check out this sample. His voice...should be easy to pick out.

Let's switch gears to talk about a cartoon that decided to make its stereotypes are divisive as possible. You know, for the kiddies. Stay tuned...


  1. Crazily enough, I JUST saw a trailer for PUTNEY SWOPE last night for the very first time on the 42nd Street Forever Vol 5 trailer collection. Timely! Oh, and it was one of the strangest trailers I've ever seen.

  2. I can't believe this movie was on TCM Underground last night...and I screwed up the programming, so I missed the whole damn thing! Ugh, technology will truly be the death of me!


  3. A to B logic in my mind. Problem. Solved. Coincidentally, new set of problems now arisen.

  4. As I said, the movie is satirical, so it is hard to be offended by most of it.

    Take, for example, a line by Swope about how smoke-signaling is the quickest form of communication (for 1966, mind you). About two minutes later, a guy runs in and says 'I got your message!'

    Sort of offensive, but mostly just weird. To be quite honest, the best joke is the one that sets up the premise. Everything else is not as good, in my opinion.