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Drama - No Category

Duel (1971)


Duration 1h 30m Rating (UK) AA
Source of story Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, originally published in Playboy
Director Steven Spielberg
Writers/Script Richard Matheson
Starring Dennis Weaver

Elevator Pitch: A commercial salesman, David Mann, in a red Plymouth is driving along Califorian desert roads when he comes up on a rusty Peterbilt truck belching smoke and with some difficulty gets past it. He is then alarmed to find that the truck is pursuing him, and no matter what he does it is either following him or waiting on the side of the road for him. Things come to a head when the truck attempts to kill him as he is phoning the police from a telephone box and he realises that he may not survive.

Content: Some beer is drunk in a cafe by truck drivers, one of whom may be the driver of the Peterbilt. The truck is menacing, with only one windscreen wiper having made an arc on an otherwise dirty windscreen and a number of grubby licence plates from different states. Throughout the film it is either tailgating the Plymouth or waiting on the side of the road for it, with smoke belching from its exhaust pipe througout. At one point it attempts to push the car into a train at a crossing at another creates mayhem at a roadside gas station.

A View: This was Steven Speilberg’s second directorial effort, and was originally a TV film, but with additional scenes shot for general release. The plot is simple, and there is no character development, other than the truck itself which seems to become increasingly evil, but nevertheless it is still worth watching. It would probably cost very little to download and may be essential viewing for film buffs.

Additional Info: There were three trucks used, one of which has survived and is in a truck museum.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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