Putney Swope

  • 1969
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

Johnson plays the token black on the executive board of an otherwise all-white ad agency. When the company chairman dies during a meeting, a successor must be elected. Through a quirk in the voting rules (no one can vote for himself), Johnson becomes the chairman. He fires the white board and hires an all-black crew, leaving one space for a token white....read more

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Johnson plays the token black on the executive board of an otherwise all-white ad agency. When the company chairman dies during a meeting, a successor must be elected. Through a quirk in the voting rules (no one can vote for himself), Johnson becomes the chairman. He fires the white board

and hires an all-black crew, leaving one space for a token white. The new agency, named Truth and Soul, Inc., radically changes its clientele by refusing accounts for liquor, cigarettes, or war toys. Instead the company creates innovative commercials for such products as Face-Off Acne Cream and

Ethereal Cereal. The US President (Hermine, a marijuana-smoking midget) sees this new company as a threat. Truth and Soul, Inc., puts all of its cash in the basement of the company headquarters, while malcontents in the agency express displeasure with Johnson. Johnson has other problems: the

diminutive pothead President threatens him with picketing unless he returns to more-conventional advertising. The President also demands that Johnson's agency push the "Borman Six" roadster, which has been proven unsafe. A white messenger boy tries to assassinate Johnson, who decides it's time to

split. He disguises himself as a Castro look-alike and takes a sack of money; but before he can escape, a dissident Arab terrorist bombs Truth and Soul's plexiglass vault. The money, representing all of the company's assets, burns up,and the agency goes down--in history. This strange little

independent comedy has parts that work. The humor is occasionally forced, with some cliched comedic devices serving as satire. The commercial parodies, however, are devastatingly funny and right on the money. This is satire at its nastiest. In these more-enlightened times the integration humor has

aged badly, however, and the film is probably not nearly so relevant now as it was upon initial release.

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  • Rating: R
  • Review: Johnson plays the token black on the executive board of an otherwise all-white ad agency. When the company chairman dies during a meeting, a successor must be elected. Through a quirk in the voting rules (no one can vote for himself), Johnson becomes the c… (more)

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