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Steelyard Blues Reviews

STEELYARD BLUES, a laid-back, indifferently directed ode to non-conformity, enjoyed brief cult status but is now nearly forgotten: apparently, its audience grew up. Screenwriter David S. Ward had two of his scripts filmed in 1973, both by the same producers. The other one was THE STING. Sutherland, who was also the executive producer, plays a man who loves demolition derbies, and his passion for them has caused him to steal cars. Sutherland leaves the slammer and gets in touch with former lover Fonda, now a hooker. Fonda wouldn't mind resuming the relationship, but she won't be part of his ultimate dream: wrecking school buses, campers, and mobile homes in a demolition derby to end all demolition derbies. Sutherland hangs out with Savage and Boyle, a refugee from the madhouse who likes to dress up in a wild array of wigs and costumes. Boyle and Savage take Sutherland to meet Goodrow, who is attempting to rebuild a WWII plane. All agree that there must be a better world out there, a land where they don't have to worry about cops, where there are no rules. The plane, they decide, may be their ticket out. The film is a mixture of KLUTE and M*A*S*H* but without the intelligence of the former or the wit of the latter. Badly directed by first-timer Myerson, who helped found San Francisco's "The Committee" (a now-legendary improv troupe, many of whose members appear in the film). In a small role, note Howard Storm, the former standup comic who has since become a sought-after director for sit-coms. The film looks haphazard and technically inept, and appears to have been made without regard for continuity editing or camera placement. Incompetence? Maybe; or maybe everyone was just stoned.