Robert Downey Sr. Explains Why No One Wanted ‘Putney Swope’ — Watch

Robert Downey Sr. Explains Why No One Wanted ‘Putney Swope’ — Watch
The late Robert Downey spoke with veteran distributor-turned-director Ira Deutchman for his upcoming documentary “Searching for Mr. Rugoff.” The film is the story of Don Rugoff, owner of theater chain and distributor Cinema 5. Rugoff was key to the careers of many filmmakers, including Costa-Gavras, Lina Wertmuller, and Downey, who speaks here about how Rugoff swooped in to buy “Putney Swope” when no one else would touch the low-budget satire of Madison Avenue advertising agencies.

“I don’t understand it, but I like it,” Rugoff told Downey. Aided by an extraordinary marketing and ad campaign still remembered today, “Putney Swope” became the rare American independent film to be treated like a top foreign-language art film.

Among Downey Sr.’s early micro-budget directorial efforts were “Balls Bluff” (1961), “Babo 73” (1964), “Chafed Elbows” (1966), and “No More Excuses” (1968). The director was also an actor, with performing credits in films such as “Boogie Nights” (1997), “Magnolia” (1999), and
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