Dennis Weaver is David Mann, a travelling salesman who is on his way to an appointment when he encounters a big smelly truck. He passess the truck but its driver doesn’t seem to be all too pleased with David’s action as he starts playing with him. When David tries to pass the truck again after the driver gave the sign that he could, a car from the opposite direction comes along, almost ramming him. It becomes clear to David that this trucker doesn’t have anything good in mind but his car isn’t powerfull enough to keep away from the truck’s souped-up diesel engine. A game of cat and mouse begins…
Sound and Vision:
The image is decent but nothing more. It’s clear that this TV-movie is from 1971 and taking that into considering, Universal has done a great job cleaning up the source material as hardly and dust or scratches are present. Compression errors aren’t present either so when it comes to technical transfer quality, Universal did very well.
The soundtrack has been remastered into a 5.1 and even a DTS track. Since we like DTS most, we checked that one out. The emphasis is like we could expect on the front speakers and the surround channels are subtle used for a few effects. The subwoofer does get some ittle action but overall it’s mostly the front speakers that do the work. Still, the dialogues (and monologues of the main character) are nicely centered. Seeing that this movie is 30 years old, the remastering that has been done is great as the track doesn’t give the impression to be that old.
- A chat with Steven Spielberg: Spielberg sits in a room and talks about how he got in the movie business, how he managed to get assigned to make Duel and how the film changed his life. Meanwhile we get to see scenes from he movie that accompany his comments. Very interesting feature which is definitely worth checking out.
- Steven Spielberg and the small screen: Spielberg is sitting in the same room as in the previous feature but instead of talking about Duel, he gives information on how he made several contributions to TV-series and how those helped him becoming a better director and how he tried to bring in some of his own idea’s into an already running TV-show. This feature could have easily been put together with the previous one but I think it looks better on a DVD cover to have “more” features listed
- Richard Matheson: writing of Duel: screenwriter Richard Matheson is interviewed about Duel and how he got his story filmed. Also the working with Spielberg gets highlighted aswell as a lot of facts concerning the Duel story. Also very interesting to watch.
Duel is the first movie directed by Steven Spielberg and it immediately stands out of the crowd as it’s also the first movie to have an “object” (the truck) as the bad guy. Although the movie has a very slow as is normal from that time period, it does keep the viewer interested in knowing what is going to happen. The storyline is extremely simple (man chased by insane trucker) but Weaver’s performance as well as the way the movie was filmed does manage to bring it to a higher level than the average weekend film.
Duel isn’t a very well-known film but after watching it you realise that a lot of its scenes have been copied in other movies like for instance the truck coming up close to the car much in the way as it was later on done in the original Jeepers Creepers. Duel is a decent piece of work that takes a simple idea and works it out to the bottom. The way the movie was filmed and Dennis Weaver’s acting make it some kind of cult classic which has been an inspiration for other directors later on. A must have for true movie fanatics and a definite rental for everyone else.