Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr. [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs] [DVD]

This collection of five films from underground director Robert Downey Sr. includes the scathing racial and showbiz satire Putney Swope, Babo 73, Chafed Elbows, No More Excuses, and Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight.
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Putney Swope
After several years working along the margins of the underground film scene in New York, director Robert Downey broke through to wider recognition with the arthouse hit Putney Swope, a wildly irreverent satire of race and advertising in America. Putney Swope (Arnold Johnson) is the token African-American executive at an otherwise all-white advertising agency when the chairman of the board unexpectedly drops dead. Through a fluke in the chain of command, Swope becomes the new head of the firm, and decides its time to do things his way. He fires nearly all the staff (except for his one token white employee), renames the agency Truth and Soul, Inc., and announces they'll no longer accept accounts advertising tobacco, alcohol, or war toys. The ads they do produce -- for acne remedies and breakfast cereal, among other things -- are wildly successful, and the iconoclastic ad agency (which only accepts payment in cash) is targeted by government operatives as a threat to the national security. Antonio Fargas and Allen Garfield lead the supporting cast; Mel Brooks makes a cameo appearance. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Chafed Elbows
This New York art film is almost totally comprised of still photographs. It chronicles the hip and colorful life in SoHo during the 1960s. The filmmaker also comments and makes observations about the issues and cultural icons of the day; included are his insights concerning the underground film movement. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos
Babo 73
No More Excuses
This New York underground film contains elements of the surreal and absurd. A Civil War soldier (Robert Downey) is shot in the posterior and finds himself wandering around New York in different time periods. He meets President James Garfield and his assassin. Documentary footage of the Vietnam War appears. A gangster turns out to be a priest, and his overweight female companion becomes a chimpanzee. Also, Allen Abel, president of the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, gives a speech as to why the animals of the world should wear clothes. This offbeat film is a hilarious look at the lunatic fringe of society and was released in 55- and 52-minute versions. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Stanley Gottlieb - Nathan
  • Allen Garfield
    Allen Garfield - Elias, Jr.
  • Image coming soon
    Arnold Johnson - Putney
  • Image coming soon
    Buddy Butler - Putney's Bodyguard
  • Image coming soon
    Ramon Gordon - Bissinger
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