Promotional poster (re-release version)
|Running time||74 min. The thriller is a broad Genre of Literature, Film, Gaming and Television. |
90 min. (DVD version)
|Written by||Richard Matheson|
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Produced by||George Eckstein|
|Music by||Billy Goldenberg|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Release date(s)||November 13, 1971|
Duel is a 1971 television movie about a trucker stalking a motorist (played by Dennis Weaver) on a remote and lonely road. Richard Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American Author and Screenwriter, typically of fantasy, horror Steven Allan Spielberg, KBE (Hon (born December 18 1946 is an American Film director, Screenwriter and producer. William Dennis Weaver ( June 4[[ 924]] &ndash February 24 2006) was an Emmy Award -winning American Actor, best known for Carey Loftin ( January 31, 1914 &ndash March 4, 1997) (also credited as Cary Loftin) was an American Actor and Billy Goldenberg (born February 10, 1936, Brooklyn, New York City) is an American composer known for his work on Steven Spielberg The United States of America —commonly referred to as the English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States The American Broadcasting Company ( ABC) is an American Television network. Events 1002 - English king Ethelred orders the killing of all Danes in England, known today as the St Year 1971 ( MCMLXXI) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. The year 1971 in film involved some significant events Events February 8 - Bob Dylan 's hour long documentary William Dennis Weaver ( June 4[[ 924]] &ndash February 24 2006) was an Emmy Award -winning American Actor, best known for It was the first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg (then 23 years old) and was written by Richard Matheson based on his own short story. Steven Allan Spielberg, KBE (Hon (born December 18 1946 is an American Film director, Screenwriter and producer. Richard Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American Author and Screenwriter, typically of fantasy, horror It was #67 on Bravo's "Scariest Movie Moments. "
David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is a middle-aged businessman driving to an appointment in his Plymouth Valiant. William Dennis Weaver ( June 4[[ 924]] &ndash February 24 2006) was an Emmy Award -winning American Actor, best known for The Plymouth Valiant is an Automobile manufactured by the Plymouth division of Chrysler Corporation in the United States from 1960 to 1976 On a two-lane highway in the California desert, he encounters a faded and grimy tanker truck, a Peterbilt 281, traveling below the speed limit and expelling thick plumes of diesel exhaust. California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. A tank truck ( United States usage or tanker lorry ( United Kingdom usage is a Motor vehicle designed to carry liquefied loads, Peterbilt Motors Company is a Manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty Class 5 through Class 8 Trucks headquartered in Denton Texas Mann passes the unsightly truck, which promptly roars past him and slows down. Mann passes the truck a second time and is startled when the trucker issues a long air horn blast. The air horn is a device designed to create an extremely loud noise.
Mann soon finds himself in a bizarre cat-and-mouse game with the truck, which follows him into a gas station and begins tailgating him once the vehicles return to the highway. Tailgating is the practice of driving on a road too closely behind another vehicle such as less than the travel distance in two seconds or equivalently one vehicle-length After Mann allows the truck to overtake his Plymouth, the truck slows down and soon begins blocking Mann’s path each time he attempts to pass the truck. Mann discovers an unpaved turnout next to the highway and uses it to race ahead of the truck. The truck pursues Mann again, this time chasing him at high speed until the Plymouth runs off the road in front of a diner.
Mann enters the diner (Chuck's Cafe) to compose himself and eat lunch. After returning from the men’s room, he is shocked to see the truck parked outside the diner. Mann studies the diner patrons carefully and begins an inner monologue in which he contemplates the trucker’s motives and second guesses his decision to sit helplessly in the diner. Mann decides to confront a patron he suspects of driving the pursuing truck and an altercation ensues. The suspected patron leaves the diner in a livestock truck and seconds later, Mann sees the tanker truck drive away.
Mann returns to the highway to discover the truck is still stalking him. As each of his attempts to outwit and escape the trucker are foiled, Mann finally realizes his best hope for survival is to outrun the truck in one final do-or-die chase.
Mann manages to face his opponent on a large hill. He places his briefcase on the accelator and Drives it into the face of the truck, leaping from the car at the last second. The truck cannot keep control after hitting the car and plunges off the end of the hill. The truck finally beaten, Mann laughs hysterically in triumph then sits down and waits while the sun sets.
The script is adapted by Richard Matheson from his own short story, originally published in Playboy magazine. Richard Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American Author and Screenwriter, typically of fantasy, horror The short story is a literary genre of Fictional Prose Narrative that tends to be more concise and to the point than longer works of fiction such Playboy is an American Men's magazine, founded in Chicago Illinois, by Hugh Hefner and his associates which has grown into Playboy It came from a real-life experience, in which Matheson was tailgated by a trucker on his way home from a golfing match with writer friend Jerry Sohl, on the same day as the Kennedy assassination. Gerald Allan Sohl Sr ( December 2, 1913 - November 4, 2002) was a scriptwriter for The Twilight Zone (as a Ghostwriter The assassination of John F Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, took place on Friday November 22 1963 in Dallas Texas The short story was given to Spielberg by his secretary who reportedly read the magazine for the stories. 
Some have proposed that Matheson may also have been inspired by a 1947 episode of the old-time radio series Lights Out entitled "What the Devil", which had a similar plot but different resolution. Year 1947 ( MCMXLVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Old-Time Radio (OTR and the Golden Age of Radio refer to a period of Radio programming lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until Lights Out was an extremely popular American Old-time radio program an early example of a network series devoted mostly to horror and the
Duel was Spielberg's feature-length directing debut, following a well-received turn directing a segment of the anthology television series Night Gallery. Night Gallery is Rod Serling 's follow-up series to The Twilight Zone that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973 Initially shown on American television as an ABC Movie of the Week installment, it was eventually released to cinemas in Europe and Australia, and had a limited cinema release to some venues in the United States. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The ABC Movie of the Week was a weekly television Anthology series, featuring Made-for-TV movies, that aired on the ABC network in various permutations Cinemaaustraliajpg|thumb|A movie theater in Australia ]]A movie theater, movie theatre, picture theatre or cinema is a venue
Despite its simple plot, a low budget (only $375,000) and very short filming deadlines (originally 10 days), the movie maintains a high level of suspense due to Spielberg's taut direction, tight editing and the script's refusal to resolve the central mystery of the driver. The film's success enabled Spielberg to move beyond directing for television and establish himself as a competent film director. 
During the original filming, the crew only had one truck and so the final shot of the truck falling off the cliff had to be completed in one take. For the film's theatrical release, though, additional trucks were purchased in order to film the additional scenes that were not in the original made-for-TV version (i. e. , the school bus scene and the railroad crossing). Only one of those trucks has survived.
Much of the movie was filmed in southern California's "Canyon Country," in and around Agua Dulce, California and Acton, California. California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. Agua Dulce ( Spanish for Freshwater, literally sweet water) is an unincorporated community located in Los Angeles County California Acton is an unincorporated Census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California near the Antelope Valley. In particular, sequences were filmed on Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce Canyon Road, Soledad Canyon Road and Angeles Forest Highway. Sierra Highway is a road in Southern California, United States. Soledad Canyon is a long narrow Canyon / Valley located in Los Angeles County, California between the cities of Palmdale and The Angeles Forest Highway traverses the Angeles National Forest and connects the Los Angeles basin to the Antelope Valley by going up and over the Many of the landmarks from Duel still exist today, including the tunnel, the railroad crossing and Chuck’s Café, a place where David Mann abruptly stops for a break. The Figueroa Street Tunnels are a set of four four-lane Tunnels that carry northbound traffic on State Route 110 (the Pasadena Freeway) through Elysian The building, now a French restaurant, is currently still on Sierra Highway.
The original made-for-television version was only 74 minutes long and was completed in 13 days (3 longer than the scheduled 10 days), leaving 10 days for editing prior to broadcast as the ABC "Movie of the Week". The American Broadcasting Company ( ABC) is an American Television network. Following Duel's successful TV airing, Universal released Duel overseas in 1973, especially in Europe. Since the TV movie's 74 minutes was not long enough for theatrical release, Universal had Spielberg spend 2 days filming several new scenes. These new scenes turned Duel into a 90 minute film. The new scenes were the railroad crossing, school bus, and David Mann's telephone conversation with his wife. Also a longer opening sequence was added with the car backing out of a garage and driving through the city. Expletives were added to make the film sound like a major motion picture.
Director Steven Spielberg lobbied to have Dennis Weaver in the starring role because he admired Weaver's work in Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. George Orson Welles (May 6 1915 – October 10 1985 was an Academy Award -winning director, writer actor and producer for film stage radio and television Touch of Evil ( 1958) is a black-and-white American film written directed and co-starring Orson Welles.
Though the film was a made-for-TV movie it received many positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes the film currently has a "Fresh" score of 81% (2008). Rotten Tomatoes is a Website devoted to reviews information and news of Movies.
In the DVD documentary, Spielberg observes that the fear of the unknown is perhaps the greatest fear of all and that Duel plays heavily to that fear. Throughout the film, the driver of the truck remains anonymous and unseen, with the exception of two separate shots where his arm beckons Weaver to pass him, and another shot where Weaver observes the driver's snakeskin boots. His motives for targeting Weaver's character are never revealed. Spielberg says that the effect of not seeing the driver makes the real villain of the film the truck itself, rather than the driver. An 'audition' was held, where Spielberg viewed a series of trucks to choose the one for the film. He selected the older 1955 Peterbilt 281  over the then-current flat-nosed 'forward control' style of trucks because the long bonnet of the Peterbilt, coupled to its split windscreens and round headlights gave it more of a 'face', adding to the menacing personality. Peterbilt Motors Company is a Manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty Class 5 through Class 8 Trucks headquartered in Denton Texas 
For each shot, several people had the task to make it uglier, adding some "truck make-up". The car was also carefully chosen, a red 1971 Plymouth Valiant with an underpowered engine to signify the weakness of the David Mann character. Year 1971 ( MCMLXXI) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. The Plymouth Valiant is an Automobile manufactured by the Plymouth division of Chrysler Corporation in the United States from 1960 to 1976 Its red color was also intentional for Spielberg wanted the car to appear well among all the dust and rocks on the road, which are basically brown and green. The shots of the truck are done in such a way as to make it seem "alive" in terms of its attack on Mann. According to Spielberg, the multiple license plates on the front bumper of the truck are meant to subtly suggest that it is a serial killer.
The dinosaur roar sound effect that is heard as the truck goes over the cliff is also heard in Jaws as the shark's carcass sinks into the ocean. Jaws is a 1975 thriller / horror Film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley 's best-selling Spielberg has said that this is because he feels there is a "kinship" between Duel and Jaws, as they are both "about these leviathans targeting everyman. Leviathan ( is a Biblical Sea monster referred to in the Old Testament ( Psalm 74:13-14 Job 41 Isaiah 271 In literature and drama the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily and who is often placed " He has also said that inserting the sound effect into Jaws was "my way of thanking Duel for giving me a career. "