You've Got To Walk It Like You Talk It Or You’ll Lose That Beat (lost Steely Dan drama-comedy film; 1971)

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You gotta walk it.jpg

Film poster. It notably reuses the soundtrack's cover art with a face photograph edited in.

Status: Lost

You've Got To Walk It Like You Talk It Or You’ll Lose That Beat is a 1971 drama comedy film. It is notable for its soundtrack, performed by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, one year before they would form the famous band Steely Dan. The cast also featured Richard Pryor in one of his earliest film appearances, as well as Robert Downey Sr.[1]


The plot centered around Carter Fields (played by Zalman King), a young hippie who goes to Central Park in New York City in order to find more meaning in his life, and meets a range of strange people.

However, as the narrator would say, "he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground".

Carter sets out on his quest and along the way makes his girlfriend pregnant, gets mixed up with revolutionaries and goes to be with one, marries his girlfriend and goes into advertising. A born loser, he is fired for incompetence and deserted by his wife.


The critics were scathing. Ann Guarino of The Daily News wrote:

"Masquerading as satire, this comedy is sophomoric and absolutely dull. The dialogue is scattered with vulgarisms and the action is spiced up with quick pornographic shots. Not even the acting is inspired."

In most early reviews of the film, a third name appeared with Walter and Donald as co-writer: Billy Cunningham. However, the latter receives no mention whatsoever on the album notes, but is listed in one cast list as playing the part of the “Fat Lady”.


The film has not resurfaced in any form after being originally screened in theaters. The film soundtrack is all that remains from the movie, including a stylized drawn version of the poster on the cover.

Director Peter Locke stated in an interview that the film "isn't a very good [one]" and that it "might be in the cemetery", despite praising Richard Pryor's performance. However, he doesn't dismiss any possibility of a DVD release in the future as "it all ends up coming out".


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