Duel (Collector's Edition)
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Steven Spielberg directs this high-velocity thriller about a motorist terrorized by an evil truck. Spielberg's first full-length movie, Duel, helped jumpstart the director's big-screen career, with a gripping, action-packed story hailed by critics as a film that "belongs on the classics shelf reserved for top suspensers" (Dailey Variety). Dennis Weaver stars as the traveling salesman waging a desperate battle for survival after he is mysteriously singled out. Praised for its deft use of relentlessly mounting psychological tension, Duel features one of the most uniquely terrifying "characters" in movie history: a massive, roaring, 40-ton truck with sheer menace. A few years later, the action of Spielberg's blockbuster hit Jaws would echo Duel's tale of a lone hero in a heart-stopping fight to the finish against a monstrous, inhuman foe.
This is the TV movie that put Steven Spielberg on the map, shortly before he made The Sugarland Express. Working from a script by Richard Matheson, the film stars Dennis Weaver as a mild-mannered traveling salesman who unintentionally angers the driver of a semi truck. Suddenly, the truck is not only riding his tail but trying to run him off the road. No matter what he does (pulling over, stopping at a diner, calling the cops), he can't get rid of it. Spielberg makes the wise decision of never showing the driver, even as he cranks the voltage on the film's suspense elements. As a result, the truck itself takes on an air of satanic menace--even a personality of sorts--as it seems to hunt its human prey. Spielberg made a lot out of a little, suggesting just how skilled a storyteller he would become. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a wounderful piece of film making, however those that cannot see beyond their favorite typical shallow predictable ending type films stay away from this movie its too hot for you.
This movie will have you on the edge of your seat as a maniacal truck driver tries to kill a simple motorist who makes the mistake of annoying someone with a much bigger vehicle. To make matters worse, the chase occurs in the California desert where there are almost no telephones, police stations, trees to hide behind, or anything else to go to for help. Remember, this is in the days before cell phones.
"Duel" was not meant to be a prediction of the future, a movie with a social message, or a warning about where our society was headed; just an entertaining roller-coaster ride for its watchers. Nonetheless, this 1971 movie turned out to be a startlingly accurate prediction of the rise of road rage, a phenomenon that later started in Southern California and is now common nationwide.
This is the movie that passes the time quickly.
It's a story of extreme simplicity. It begins with a middle-aged businessman, David Mann, about whom we know almost nothing except his name, that he is married and that he is heading for a business meeting and hopes to be back in time for dinner, sets off on a long road journey north from Los Angeles in a rather tired-looking red Plymouth that could do with a service. As he comes into the mountains he gets stuck behind a huge dirty great truck. He overtakes it but then it overtakes him back. So he overtakes it again and in doing so, it would seem, he annoys Mr Truck Driver. Annoys him quite a lot. To begin with Truck Driver won't let him overtake again, swerving about to block the road. Then Truck Driver maliciously waves him forward just as an oncoming car is approaching at speed. Then Truck Driver gives chase and sets out to run him off the road. From here on, this continuing game of cat and mouse makes up the entire film. There is never any explanation of why Truck Driver reacts in such an extreme way to so mild a provocation. Indeed we never ever see Truck Driver, only his darkened windscreen, his upper arms, and, at one point, his feet. (Not quite accurate that: we do, perhaps, see him in a group of people but neither we nor Mann knows which, if any, of them is he.) .Read more ›
We are allowed to over hear the phone in radio show on Mann's (Dennis Weaver) car radio. The show highlighting how the caller is no longer master of his own house and the fears he has on how to handle it. That is echoed when Mann stops for gas. The station attendant says 'you're the boss' while Mann replies with 'not in my house' Mann's phone conversation with his wife reinforces his character of trying to hide his fears and not deal with them.
The truck is the symbol of his fears and his way of handling them, or rather avoiding them. He can't stop and let them pass by, they will always be there farhter down the road, as the truck is. He can't out run them as they will always be tailgating. Throughout all this we never identify the truck driver as that fact is unimportant.
Mann is finally backed to a corner where he has to either die or face his fears. He does face them with interesting results.
An excellent movie that should be looked at beyond the car vs. truck Duel.
Dennis 'McCloud' Weaver plays David Mann, a frustrated California travelling salesman driving through California's scrub brush and deserts to make an appointment. He's having problems at home, centered around his wife's perception of him as something of a nebbish. Then he innocently passes a slow-moving truck. All hell follows.
You can view this a great thriller with a sub-text that deals with a modern man's battle with his own feelings of inadequacy and emasculation. You can view this as a thriller of paranoia and terror, as the early stages of Mann's battle with the truck-driver (never fully glimpsed at any point during the movie) repeatedly put Mann in situations in which no one believes that he's in a duel to the death with a crazy person.
Weaver is flat-out terrific, sympathetic and squirmy. Screenwriters aspiring or otherwise should look at this film as a model of how to effectively use voiceover narration in a movie. We're privy to Mann's internal dialogue at points, and it's beautifully done. The scenery is suitably deserted. The truck, as much a character as Weaver, is about as sinister a vehicle as one could want, grimy and menacing and way, way too fast for its weight class.
Duel taps into very specific fears related to driving, and driving around large trucks.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I really can't expand much on what has already been said. Dennis Weaver was my late mother's favorite actor back in the day. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David H. Smith
This is Steven Spielbergs first film originally film for television in North America and released theatrically in Europe. Read morePublished 5 months ago by K. D.
Always liked this first movie by Spielberg. I had the VHS which was getting worn,and thus ordered the DVD version.Published 5 months ago by Ron RIchard
This movie is very well done, both the acting and the action scenes. The truck itself is very menacing, not unlike the shark from Jaws. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Steven Fowler
Nail biter still after all these years. Another great film that has a huge following. Wonderful Spielberg film.Published 9 months ago by Pamela Daly