Cine TV Contest #38 - Favorite Movie Vehicle : Duel (Steven Spielberg's feature film debut) .

Suspense, action, thriller, a nightmarish tale, fear of the unknown, a senseless hunt. This is Duel, the first film that Steven Spielberg manages to release in theaters. The filmmaker shows us a nightmarish story where a salesman named David Mann (Dennis Weaver), travels the roads of southern North America very close to the border with Mexico, with his red Plymouth car, however this trip will not be at all quiet to suffer the bestial harassment of a huge truck completely ramshackle and rusty, we sense carrying gasoline, for no apparent reason.


The driver of the truck, always remains hidden in the cabin, although sometimes we observe a few shots in which of course we will not see his face, which accentuates the feeling of uneasiness in the viewer.


This film makes us feel inside the road, crossing vast wastelands, the gasoline can almost be smelled, we are cornered by that truck to the point of distressing us as much as the driver of the red vehicle. It is a hunt that lends itself to existentialist and diabolical readings, but that is left to the judgment of the desperate viewer between the scares and chases presented in the film. There is no explanation as to why this truck is stalking Mann.


There is an unsubstantiated hypothesis that this truck represents the co-worker who tried to seduce Mann's wife and against whom he did not defend her, this is reproached by her in the phone call at the beginning of the film. It is that feeling of guilt and fear that haunts him and that he must face once and for all as if it were a duel. As I said it is pure lucubration.

The truck is the enemy showing a disturbing aspect with a color given by the most extreme rust, it looks like a wounded animal with cracked or punctured parts.


It is a film that I saw on television in 1977, and that here in Venezuela was shown in order to take advantage of Spielberg's success with the movie Jaws. When I was 10 years old I didn't even know who Spielberg was, but I saw his name a lot as a director in the movie theaters.

The movie amazed me and kept me entertained for a long time in front of the screen despite the countless commercial breaks, it kept me in tension until the final moments where the protagonist had to face with cunning the wickedness and viciousness of the truck.


In this David vs. Goliath struggle, Dennis Weaver gives an excellent performance as a helpless driver, about to explode in a panic crisis.

The film is very simple but impressive and dates from 1971 and was initially broadcast on television, but given the excellent reception of the telefilm for its narrative pulse, aesthetics and epic tone was screened in 35 mm in 1973, extending its length from 74 to 91 minutes, being a precursor for its level of suspense of Jaws (1975) by Steven Spielberg himself.

This road movie was shot in thirteen days, an achievement by anyone's standards. It was filmed almost entirely on location with a low-rider racing vehicle in order to film the overtaking from car to truck and vice versa.

Spielberg used up to seven cameras in order to finish the film on time. The film was assembled and edited in three and a half weeks.

The script is by Richard Matheson, (relevant creator of horror, science-fiction and fantasy stories), is simple and brilliant, where fear emerges from what is not seen.

This is the only scene where we will be able to appreciate in some way who the driver of the truck is.


Its director Steven Spielberg manages to make the protagonist's sensations manifest from the images, since Duel is a film where there is hardly any dialogue, and the voice and voice-over of the protagonist is used punctually when it is necessary to verbalize his thoughts.

It is a cult gem that even today manages to put us in suspense and also made Steven Spielberg known as a film storyteller, this happening years before he filmed Jaws.

A big greeting to the CineTV community, I present my post to participate in the initiative Cine TV Contest #38 - Favorite Movie Vehicle Link Here

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