Babo 73, the freshest (which is to say, the most blatantly infantile) of Downey’s early films, was shot during the summer of 1964 and released in the midst of the autumn presidential campaign. The mode is a shambling, lackadaisical slapstick in which the Free World’s leaders wander aimlessly, constructing toy missiles and waving toy flags. Although it manages to incorporate an actual military parade and satirizes the notorious anti-Goldwater “Daisy” commercial, Babo 73‘s best joke is casting downtown celebrity Taylor Mead as America’s president—and feasting on his spastic antics. A diminutive waif with a cretinous gaze and a hilariously mush-mouthed, whining drawl, Mead was often compared to the silent comedian Harry Langdon, but he also personifies a degenerate ruling elite—of all the ’60s underground clowns, he had the most fun playing the East Village idiot. –J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Robert John Downey, Sr. (born 1937) is an American actor, writer, film director and father of actor Robert Downey, Jr. He is known as the director and writer of the cult classic feature film Putney Swope, a biting satire on the New York Madison Avenue advertising world.
By the age of 22, Downey had served in the Army, played minor league baseball, become a Golden Gloves champion and an Off-Off-Broadway playwright. In 1961, working with the film editor Fred von Bernewitz, he began writing and directing low-budget 16mm films which gained an underground following, beginning with Ball’s Bluff (1961), a fantasy short about a Civil War soldier who awakens in Central Park in 1961.
He moved into big-budget filmmaking with the surrealistic Greaser’s Palace (1972). His most recent film was Rittenhouse Square (2005), a documentary capturing life in a Philadelphia park. —wikipedia
Political satire presented in a very avant-garde manner (isn't that usually the case, though?). It seemed like all the voices were dubbed after shooting. I was bored by the film, never really got into it. The only part I liked was the guy Greene with his nervous breakdown. "I'M HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!" and later "Are you alright now?" "I THINK SO!" I think "shenanigans" is going to be the operative word for this Criterion Eclipse box set of Downey's films.